I’ve been in the Dominican Republic for a few days now, working with an organization to help prepare for and host summer teams.
My first day, I was assigned the task of cleaning out a bathroom that hadn’t been touched in a while. It looked pretty disgusting at first sight. A lot of scum had accumulated and crusted on the tiles. I scrubbed awhile with straight up bleach, but it wasn’t going anywhere. I ended up having to chip away at it with a paint scraper. After a few hours, the metal on the scraper broke from the scum.
Also in the last few days. I’ve had to deal with a lot of internal and relational issues with my heart. Being in a third world country on a volunteer trip has its way of bringing out the junk in your heart. Things that are easy to cover up and gloss over in the comforts of home and everyday. But they become blatantly and disgustingly apparent when there’s nothing to hide behind.
That’s the thing with scum, both in the bathroom and in your heart. It takes time to accumulate, and is gradual and unnoticeable. Even when it becomes bad, it’s so part of the normal that we ignore it. Until you’ve left it unchecked for so long and come back to it one day with fresh eyes. You realize how disgusting it is.
My thought was that I could scrub away the scum an hour or so. It took me 2 days to get the bathroom looking somewhat acceptable. Over the past few months, there’s been so much bitterness and anger in my heart. Yet it was something I never had to deal with. I could ignore it.
Being here in the Dominican Republic, I’ve come face to face with those issues and are forced to address them. My internal reaction to situations has exposed how ugly my heart can be. I wish I could scrub it away in a few days. but it’ll take many weeks and months to clean out. Like slowly chipping away at bathroom scum, resolving the unhealthiness in my heart is a slow and extremely painful process.
But it needs to be done. And by the grace of God, I’m not left to clean it alone.