by David Sisler

During the five years that I have been writing this column, I have introduced you to my family. You would never suspect from those glowing, heart-tugging, and sometimes downright sappy vignettes that I live with a family of dirt balls!

Look at our house.

The living room, I try to keep neat and clean. When we entertain, I try to avoid lawsuits. I don't want my guests to trip as they stumble through a mountain of school books, school bags, lunch bags, pencils, a stapler and a three-hole punch, umbrellas, shoes and old newspapers--and that's just from the school teacher.

The first room on the right, down the hall, has two bookcases which barely have room for dust. To the left is a desk, a dresser and a wall full of bookshelves. The far wall, under the window is occupied by a double bed. From the door to the bed is a six inch wide path. The floor is covered with books, clean clothes (the dresser drawers are empty), cross stitch supplies, and more books.

The next room goes through fits of clean and swamp. Its occupant can change clothes four times each morning, with none of the discarded outfits ever making it back to the closet. Maybe it comes from being raised in Garrett County, Maryland where the snowfall averaged 10 feet per winter, but I do not understand shorts as acceptable December wear.

Enter the last room on the right at your own risk. The two who live here never return clothes hangers to the closet, or take empty soft drink cans to the garbage, or place dirty ice cream bowls in the dishwasher. And if that mountain of wrestling videos, posters and magazines every falls, it will take weeks to dig the residents out.

Come back down the hall and you enter the kitchen, dining room and study area. These people really swing into high gear here. Dirty dishes (when they make it that far) are piled on top of the counter, directly above the dishwasher. Is the dishwasher ever actually opened and the stuff put inside? Not a chance. It is four steps from there to the trash can. Do they actually ever place anything in it? Nyet. Let's talk about the counter that doubles as a kitchen work area and breakfast bar. If as many people congregated in church as there are old newspaper circulars gathered on that counter, every church in town would be full tomorrow. I don't have the energy to count the rubber bands, spools of thread, scraps of note paper, broken pencils, and ink pens with no ink which occupy the counter's surface.

There is a dining room table, but right now, I can't find it.

Finally, you are in the study area which is occupied by my desk, my books and my computer center. It does not matter, you understand, that you cannot see the highly polished surface of my oak desk. This is my clutter and I know exactly where everything is. I think.

The point is, this is only one small area and I work here. You'd think the rest of the Cap Chat Gang could clean up after themselves!

Then I read the morning paper. Mothers kill their children. Sons kill their parents. Brothers kill their sisters. Parents kill each other. Drugs. Rape. Torture. Mayhem.

And I think about my dirt balls.

Twenty-six years ago Bonnie said, "For better or for worse," and meant it. Through thick and thin--my thick head and my often thin wallet--she has been my anchor. Even when I wanted to drift.

Twenty-four years ago babies started to come to live at our house. Each of them has made a personal, life-time commitment to Jesus Christ. None of them have experimented with drugs. None of them have tried to kill their brain cells through alcohol intoxication. None of them have ever tried to self-inflict lung cancer by smoking. Each of them has a very special gift to give their life-partners on their wedding nights.

Each of them understands the sixth commandment and honors their father and their mother. Except for cleaning up after themselves. And that, the cliche says, is small potatoes, really small.

Yesterday I celebrated my 48th birthday, and I received appropriate gifts in honor of the occasion. But I have already received the best gifts any man could wish for. The love of my wife and our four children--not to mention my parents who taught me early to love Jesus and my brother who is my best friend. My best gift of all is eternal life from Jesus Christ, God's only Son. Everything else ices the cake.


Published in the Augusta Chronicle 2/18/95

Copyright 1995 by David Sisler

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