I swiped the cloth across the sliding door, erasing layers of fingerprints. Tiny hands trailed a sticky collage all along the lower sections of the glass— and prints higher on the panes were left by those old enough to know better.
Spray. Wipe. Dry. Repeat.
As I worked, I glanced at my reflection. Other faces appeared as I contemplated the love of sparkling windows—my mother, my German grandmother, and maybe her mother too (although we never met). Generations of women who believed “cleanliness is next to godliness,” at least where windows were concerned, passed this trait down to their offspring. However, perfectionism regarding shiny glass stopped with my grown children; dirty windows now bothered no one but me. They could all see beyond the grime and view trees and shoreline instead.
Was there something more behind my desire to look outside without gazing through smudged handprints? A need to control something controllable in life? A yearning perhaps—to obliterate the grime of a world that never stops ruining the view, or to restore at least one thing to the best version of itself.
I didn’t need to watch national news to witness heartbreak or angst—it was everywhere I turned. Lives streaked with pain, hearts broken from the actions of others, or relationships marred by selfishness. A child bullied on social media. Betrayal by a partner in a business transaction. A father of four battling depression and thoughts of suicide. A mother’s struggle to remain content when the lives of others appeared much more glamorous than her own. An influential spiritual person who was not what he presented himself to be. A close friend struggling to live in the ICU. Cancer, disease, death.
I wanted to spray, wipe, and obliterate each heartache. To find a product that would take all the smudges away. Repeatedly.
Struggling with the offenses of others and the pain of those I love, my own reflection flashed again. The problem was not only them, but me. My anger, possibly starting out right, descending into a tirade of judgment. My frustration and feelings of hopelessness with a world gone wild causing me to retreat into discouragement. My discontent with what I have instead of what I wanted, whether a perfect home, a perfect body, or a perfect life. All unattainable, but in my thoughts nonetheless. It is me who needs to be cleansed, changed, forgiven, and sent on my way to offend no more.
My only hope is to go again to the gospel of Christ: Jesus makes all things new—even sinful, dissatisfied hearts. Heaven is real and earth will be restored one day. God promises to wipe away every tear instead of grimy handprints. All scores will be settled justly. There is healing. There is love. And there is hope.
I too need to retrain my eyes to view trees and shoreline instead of focusing on dirty windows. Even if I “see through a glass darkly” today, the promise is I will one day see Him clearly face to face. For now, that will have to be enough.
“For now we see but a faint reflection of riddles and mysteries, but one day we will see face-to-face.” I Corinthians 13:12, The Passion Translation.