Every year our family vacations at the beach over the week of July 4th and it’s one of THE most anticipated weeks of our year. This year was no different. We lucked into renting a private home for the last eleven of the twelve years we’ve been traipsing our family to Rehoboth, the only thing we had to do when it was time to leave was CLEAN the home (no maid service) and make sure ALL was back in order.

ALL means ALL. 

It was a lot of work but we’d wake up on Sundays and begin. Linen off all the beds, luggage packed and out, laundry started, bathrooms cleaned, floors swept and mopped, etc. But THIS year was different. The private home was no longer available (owners had the gull to permanently MOVE there themselves) so we were forced to relocate, and we did. Lovely location, just perfect. AND MAID SERVICE (with the exception that we brought our own linens). WHAT A WIN. 

No more cleaning for hours before we left.

Well, I was wrong.

I found myself finding the sweeper, wiping down the bathrooms and the dressers in each room and made sure it was all in order and neat. One of our kids said, “WHY are you cleaning like this?”

My response, “Like this? Like WHAT?”

“Why?” That I knew immediately.

I think my husband and I both grew up with parents who taught us well, in fact, I KNOW they have. They might not had to always TEACH us, as in go over what it was they wanted us to do, but THEIR actions spoke to us loud and clear. There’s a certain standard that you don’t just TRY to live up to but that IS you. For both of our mothers, I guarantee you that standard is “YOU PICK UP AFTER YOURSELF. YOU LEAVE THAT HOUSE BETTER THAN WHEN YOU CAME. EVEN IF THERE IS MAID SERVICE.” 

It’s standard that doesn’t ask to be noticed or recognized and sure as heck doesn’t need a reward. It IS because you ARE.

So I’m going through the rooms of this house and I realize, the very same standard that I’m applying to cleaning this home applies to every single person that I meet. If I can come into a nice beach house and actually leave it believing I left it better than when I came (AND WE DID. WE WORKED HARD AND TOGETHER) than the very same principle can apply to EVERY PERSON THAT I ENCOUNTER. Right? Because standards are not just a FOR THIS or FOR THAT, at least not when you talk about the standard of someone’s identity…their character, integrity etc.

Whatever you touch is left better, whoever you encounter, the same.

It’s the standard, the principle…the spirit of Jesus. You leave the entire world; beach house, gas station attendant, the waitress taking your order and bringing out your food…BETTER. It’s up to you how you do it so don’t you dare think for one hot second it needs to look like me. It needs to look like YOU. Enjoy figuring that one out my friend. You have your own unique way of infusing love, kindenss, encouragement, genorisoty and compassion into every ENCOUNTER…so get your head out of your phone for a moment and look the person in front of you in the eye and SEE them. BAM…already better.

Just do it. Leave them for the better because we will ALL be better for it.