Among a group of friends recently, the topic of changing dirty diapers arose. The general sentiments were ones I had heard many times before.
Ugh. I'm not getting anywhere near poop. That can be someone else's job.
Maybe it's because I grew up around babies. Between my younger siblings and the infants from my mom's home daycare, there were always plenty of foul-smelling garments to go around. I don't remember the first diaper I changed, and even if I did, I would surely have lost count of how many I've changed since. So the idea of cleaning up baby poop doesn't bother me in the least.
But I've noticed when I've heard the repulsed reactions of others over the years, it stirs something up inside of me. As if I wanted to argue the benefits of changing a baby's diaper--especially if the baby was one's own child. Somehow, the idea of someone shying away from it bothered me. And finally, I took some time out of my mental musings to consider why.
Yes, poop is disgusting. It smells (especially, it seems, when it originates from an infant). It also has a tendency to come in all manner of sickly colors. Sometimes, it smears on your hands, or your clothes, or the carpet. Essentially, changing a diaper is one great big mess. But what an act of humility and intimacy and love it is to clean off that mess from one who is helpless to take care of it themselves.
Intimacy is messy. We live in a broken world, and getting close to someone inevitably involves heartache and bruises and tears. Just ask God, the Father who so longed for us to be restored to Him, He entered our mess Himself. He trudged through the suffering and pain and temptation and betrayal. Wooden beams drank His blood so we could be whole.
And the mess goes both ways. When we allow the Spirit to enter us, He gets all over the place. He completely wrecks our "perfect" little worlds--all the things we thought we knew, all the things we thought we wanted, all the things we thought we were. He covers us with blood and anoints us with oil until we're dripping everywhere. This is how Heaven meets Earth: in a flash and tangle and flood. But through that mess, dear children, He makes us pure and clean and white.
Thank God, we have a Father who is not afraid of dirty diapers.