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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Hospitality (02/07/05)

TITLE: A Dirty Mat
By Shellie Power


I like to take time to tidy up and put things in their place when I know someone will be stopping by. This usually means putting toys back on their shelves and dirty dishes out of sight (preferably even washed and back in the cupboard!). However, there was no time for the Martha Stewart in me to arrange anything the day my girlfriend and her kids showed up unannounced at 8:30 in the morning.

I had just managed to make it in the door after the early morning car pool. Snow suits were scattered throughout our entrance way, dishes from a hurried breakfast were littering the counter, toothpaste blobs were cemented in their place in and near the bathroom sink and every bedroom still bore the mess of a good night's sleep. Talk about airing dirty laundry, there was even a load in the process of being sorted--in the middle of the kitchen floor. Chaos.

None of this mattered to the friend who "just needed a reason to get going this morning". She had come by for a "cup of comfort" and really didn't care what the condition of the house was in. There we sat talking while the kids created more mess with the toys. I tried to apologize several times for the disaster that we were sitting in. My cheeks burned as I thought about how my reputation for "having it all together" would soon be replaced by one of a total and utter slob. Chaos.

She didn't stay long. As she left she thanked me for the visit. I thought she was just being polite. I thought for sure she was running from disaster until she shared her experience in this war zone. "I'm so glad I could come to a comfortable place this morning." Comfortable? Did she not see the Cheerios stuck to the sofa? "It was nice to be somewhere and see that other people wake up and have the same mountain of work. I feel at home knowing that I'm not the only mom on the block to not have her chores done by sun-up! I don't leave here feeling inadequate because everything here is perfect." Wow.

It wasn't until later that day as I straightened and tidied and restored order that I was able to take what she had said as a compliment. I was cleaning our entrance and noticed our Welcome mat. It was tattered and ugly and now covered in mud. Wouldn't it be nice to have a new one? It is after all the first thing people see when they enter our home.
I wonder what God's Welcome mat looks like? He readily provides His "cup of comfort" to anyone and everyone who comes to get it. It doesn't matter what condition His visitors arrive in, they never leave feeling inadequate. His mat must be tattered and dirty. I know I have wiped my feet and left my dirtiness at His door many times.

I like a dirty Welcome mat! I pray that God will use me to graciously welcome visitors regardless of their circumstance and allow them a place to wipe their feet.

"Now that I, our Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet." John 13:14 NIV

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Member Comments
Member Date
Sally Hanan02/14/05
Lovely writing but the welcome mat part threw me off.
donna robinson02/14/05
Great story. I remember those days of kids and chaos and my husband would get upset if I told him someone "dropped in" wondering what the house looked like! I always, said, "they came to see me, not the house".

I like the analogy with the welcome mat at the end but it needed a little more rephrasing to let it tie in as an ending. Actually, I think that is a whole new story!
L.M. Lee02/17/05
well if you like dirty welcome mats...you'll love mine! but I think it's more "dark" because of the humidity and mold! ha-ha!
LK Davis02/20/05
I can emphathize with you. I'm just not a housekeeper! About the welcome mat, i agree that is a separate story. Perhaps you can tell it to us one day!