As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to
what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.
She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me
to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better,
and it will not be taken away from her.”
Fingerprints, handprints, and believe it or not, footprints. Smudges on the computer desk, on the windows of the cabinets in the kitchen, on the glass tabletop, on the glossy finish of the floor. Everywhere - little signs of life in this home.
I like those furniture polish commercials - spray, wipe, and voila - everything shines. Everything glows. Everything smells good. I've tried them. They don't quite work the same way for me as they do for the lovely advertisement housewives. But they do smell good.
So, I'm sitting here thinking about those fingerprints. Those handprints. Those smudges. I'm thinking about my daughter getting up in the morning and putting her hands on the cabinet doors to get the little plate she uses to microwave her lean pocket for breakfast. I'm thinking about the way she pushes that microwave door closed and concentrates on pressing 2-0-0-start. I'm thinking about the gathering she does - at her place at the kitchen table - the rest of her breakfast... getting into another cabinet for her vitamins, getting a yogurt from the fridge, and a spoon, finding some fruit. I'm thinking about how she places her bottle of water just so on the placement so that it doesn't touch the glass of the table top beneath, but how her place is always the one with the most mess to clean. So purposeful. So precise. So independent.
She makes our coffee at night. I know.... night. But the thing has a timer - which she sets - so that the coffee is freshly made when we come down in the morning. Five o-clock at our house sounds like the donut commercial. My daughter picks up her watch from the arm of the sofa, stares for just a second. It's time to make the coffee. Everyday. Rain or shine. Fingerprints all over the stainless steel.
She works at her desk in her room. She has an old laptop computer with a replacement keyboard - mouse on the left. If I leave her room alone, she eventually covers every flat surface with stacks of her papers - her work - old school worksheets she copies into a word document, workbooks and coloring books, yearbooks, old spiral notebooks filled with her printing, pictures, construction paper... cards she's made with scissors, glue and glitter. Underneath it all - fingerprints and dust. I tell her she needs to clean her room and she looks up and smiles. I like it that way, she says. Purposeful. Precise. Independent.
I'll still clean up. I'll still work to get rid of those smudges. But I won't resent them. I wouldn't trade those fingerprints of purpose and independence for a world of clean houses. I just shake my head at the wonder of it - focusing on my daughter's abilities rather than her disabilities - realizing that she has left a very real fingerprint on my life. On my heart. Cleaning up a few smudges won't change that.