Let’s be honest: My brain is tired. My body is sleep deprived. I’ve undertaken a 30 day sugar detox. My kitchen counters have been clean all week.
Does that last one appear out of place? Well, come close so I can let you in on a little secret. Clean countertops are vanity of vanities. I have spent more of my life this week cleaning those counters than practically anything else (eliminating those things necessary to maintain the two little lives for which I’m responsible). You see, this week I’ve cooked 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, and 4 dinners – Joshua made pan-broiled fish for us last night, yummy! Which means I’ve cleaned those counters 15 times – just for meals. For the girl whose parents endured the classic “making the bed is a waste of time when twilight sleep hours occur every evening” – those counters are the epitome of senselessness.
So why clean them? Apart from the obvious threat of food-borne diseases, why expend the energy? For that matter, why make the bed? Why dress the children – or bathe them? Couldn’t most of our daily activities fall under the “vanity of vanity” tab?
Well yes. Thank you to the Preacher. For he coined that phrase in his wisdom writings long before I ever had kitchen countertops to clean, and he recognized that its not just the repetitive acts of life that are futile – “all is vanity” Ecclesiastes 1:2. There is frustration and despair in that statement – but pause with me for a moment, I believe there is also hope. Hope; and joy and a soul that sings in each mundane repetitive task because it is vain.
As we are vain.
We are yoked to the work we deserve, because we ourselves are grasshoppers – “It is He (God) who sits above the circle of earth and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers.” Isaiah 40:22. The hope of our futile lives is their futility, that what we accomplish is fleeting and of little consequence – for in that comprehension we see our need for a hero. A Savior.
Again we can thank the Preacher. “The end of the matter, all has been heard. Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.” Ecclesiastes 12:13 So wipe those counters, make the beds, dress and for heaven’s sake clean those babies – rejoicing in the vanity. It reminds us of "man's all", and allows our Lord Jesus Christ the preeminence.
All her life Alaina traveled. As a child it was through novels, history books, and biographies. She has never lost a game of Risk to Joshua. Including the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings editions.