"Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox."
- Proverbs 14:4
I came across this little gem today, and I was amazed that such a short phrase packed such a powerful punch.
You see, I never seem to win the battle of a tidy home. I have two sources of aggravation in my life: when too many people are trying to talk to me at once (hello, introvert) and when people use things and then just drop them when they are finished with it. Our house is not that big - you can get anywhere in it in less than 10 seconds.
Lately my frustration has come down to pillows. This long, hard, cold winter has led to a relaxation on indoor sports here. The boys have discovered a small plush ball and some couch cushions can be turned into a pretty awesome game of handball hockey. But that means that at least a half a dozen times a day I'm picking up the cushions from the floor and setting them back on the couch.
The playroom pile grows even when no one is in there.
The laundry multiplies on its own.
The shoes walk around the house.
The dishes climb out of the dishwasher.
The socks, socks, socks, socks(!) fall where they will.
It is certain that this "manger" is never clean. But, as the proverb goes, the manger is only clean when there are no oxen. In other words, only an empty manger is clean. Instead, my home is filled with loved ones. And so just as the straw will fall to the floor from an overflowing manger, so the dishes and laundry and toys and shoes and socks and mess will fall from the bodies in my home. But I have an abundant crop of love here, there is no doubt. My home shows signs of loved ones living.
"Sorry for the mess...we live here."