Wash me through and through from my wickedness
and cleanse me from my sin.
After walking by it three times, I finally pick up my fleece sweater and examine the stain again. It has been lying in a heap for more than a week, since Shrove Tuesday when an unnoticed piece of chocolate melted in its folds. I have been ignoring it because I have not had time to hand wash it and because I am afraid to find out it is ruined, that the stain cannot be removed.
There is no time like the present. I head to the laundry room and apply myself to removing the oily mess, then set the sweater to soak in the prescribed cleaning solution. I am relieved when this seems to do the trick; I think the stain is gone. As I rinse it out in order to throw it in the washing machine with the rest of a load, it occurs to me that this is a bit silly. It is already washed—why not just finish it by hand?
I usually find hand-washing a chore for which I have neither the time nor the patience. But as I scrub and rinse the sweater several times, I discover a soothing rhythm to it and a gentle attentiveness. And I imagine God, hand-washing me with similar care.
I am overwhelmed then by a vision of God washing each of us by hand. Patiently. Lovingly. And in God’s hands, no one is ruined beyond repair, and there is no stain that cannot be removed.