“I don’t think you were supposed to do that,” came the voice down the hallway. In my late afternoon stress, I heard the tattletale tone and saw red.

“What now?”

And then I saw.

Two months ago, we moved into a house nicer than what I expected, and it’s been slow going, unpacking and figuring out where things belong. The big old-fashioned crock in the front room might not be there forever.

And it’s certainly not going to end its life as a toy storage unit.

My three-year-old was feeling her artistic roots that day and the black must have slid right over its smooth sides. I imagine her smiling as she did it, really enjoying the experience.

On that day of discovery? I was less than happy. And she could tell.

She ran and hid her face. I stomped to get a rag.

It was then that I discovered that the bold black marks were not, as I feared, permanent marker, but only black crayon.

It wiped off and left no evidence of having ever been there.

“Look,” I told her. “It’s okay. It came right off. Nothing to worry about.”

Just like what’s offered to me as often as I’ll take it with the sacrament of confession. It doesn’t matter how big or bad the sin was, how heavy my burden is, how much I’m struggling or fighting with my lot in life.

I go and I come away clean, as though the sin never was. My soul, just like my big old-fashioned crock, is clear of any stain.

Why, then, do I wait so long to make that appointment with Jesus? Why do I hide my face and brace myself for punishment? I do far worse to myself than he will do to me; I carry a penance within me that’s harsher than anything his loving gaze has ever sent my way.

My goal this week is to get my soul wiped clean! Care to join me?

Copyright 2011 Sarah Reinhard