Weekend Bonus: Dust

Three facts about my Mom will emerge as you read this guest post by her: First, she is wise. Second, she’s one heck of a writer. Third, she is moving. (And here’s the exciting part: she is building a house next door to us!) Maybe I should add a fourth thing about her. She is brave.

She’s leaving Nashville, where she and my dad raised a family, retired, and said that inevitable goodbye – for now – to each other when he died eight years ago. She is relocating to a new city and a new life. But, as you read, you’ll have the strong sense that she will be just just fine in the process. So here are a few words from Mary Lu Smith, my mom…

My condo is for sale and there are frequent calls for viewings. Hence the need to keep the place “show ready” at all times. I like for things to be neat and tidy, even in my art studio, but “show ready” requires a new level of neatness. Almost to a surreal degree.

I have a very good cleaning lady who comes every other week. However, it seems I get most of the calls for viewings the day before she comes. I swiftly “swiffer” the floors, then run my finger over an end table to discover an obtrusive layer of dust. I hate dust.

So, where does this dust come from? I’ve pondered this for quite some time and have come to this conclusion: Dust comes from age and decay. It started with Adam and Eve.

In the beginning this couple lived in a lush perfect world. Eve never had to worry about what to wear. Their shoes never wore out because they didn’t have any. All the animals were ideal pets who scooped their own poop and had no need for obedience school. The garden fruits and veggies grew and was a pleasure to tend. And, there was no dust.

Then Adam and Eve decided they knew better than God. They were evicted from the garden. And soon the clothes God made for them began to wear out. Eve had to make new clothes, which also wore out. Adam planted a garden, after he dug out all the rocks.

Sometimes the garden thrived, sometimes not. Sometimes the garden dried up and became a plot of dust for lack of rain. The wind blew, and Eve discovered she could write her name in the dust on the coffee table.

Sometimes there was dust on the coffee table even when there was rain. Why?

As our skin ages it becomes thinner. Where does that layer of skin go? It becomes dust. As our clothes wear out they wear thin. Where does that layer of fabric go? It becomes dust. You don’t believe me? What about that lint you remove from the dryer screen?

Once when our daughter, Kitti, and her husband, Bill, came to visit us, I offered to wash their clothes. They had two children at the time, and Bill was pastoring a small church. The church was struggling financially and sometimes couldn’t pay Bill his full salary. When I took the clothes from the dryer I was surprised that the lint screen was completely empty. Their old clothes were so worn, that there was no lint! Where had that lint gone? It swirled around until it landed on somebody’s coffee table.

The old dry skin on my arms and feet flakes off and does the same thing. We are all gradually decaying and turning to dust. Because we have life-blood flowing through us, this process isn’t fatal. However, when we are finally laid to rest in the ground the dust-making process accelerates.

Don’t despair, dear ones, this is the good part: One of these days Jesus will come back to collect our dust. Like his father did when He took dirt and formed Adam, Jesus will gather up the dust of our remains and blow His sweet breath on our dust. Then we will go home with Him to live in a perfect place where nothing ages or decays. And there will be no dust.

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