An Allegory: The Ugly Friends I Invited In

Yesterday, as I was popping the children out of their bike buggy, I heard a cheery "hello!" behind me. I turned around and grinned.

One of my dear old friends was standing on the stoop, watching me unpack two wiggling babies.

"Was it a long ride?"

"Not too bad... just about 10 miles. But my legs are killing me and I'm exhausted."

She nodded her frowzy head understandingly. "I totally get it. I always like to kick back with a good book or some "Gilmore Girl" episodes after a long ride." I smiled, shifting a baby to another hip.

"Oh, me too! That sounds heavenly, but I have things to do..."

"Pressing, important things?" she asked with a grin.

She knew the answer. It was just laundry and play time with the kids. So I shrugged my shoulders and smiled a little. "Okay... wanna come in?"

She pushed back her rough, untamed curls and nodded with a smile, "If you don't mind, I'm babysitting for the day, can I bring in the little guy?"

"Of course! Little guys are always welcome here!"

As she hoisted this kid out of the van, I began to wonder about her definition of "little." This kid was very chubby, with big fat rolls up and down his arms and legs. He made the Michelin-man look like a strict Weight-Watchers fanatic.

But the little guy was cute. So I opened the door a little wider and helped him climb over the threshold in breathless panting.

Before I knew it, my dear friend had curled up on the couch, monopolizing the blankets and telling my kids to be quiet as she watched some Netflix. Her chubby little charge was running around with a jar of peanut butter and whining for chocolate chips. But I'm a good hostess, right? I didn't say anything. I found chocolate chips. I curled up next to my friend on the couch. And the minutes passed slowly by.

**thunk, thunk, thunk!**

Someone was at the front door. I got up slowly. The show was engrossing. Plus, there was peanut butter everywhere and somehow the kid had gotten his hands on some animal crackers. Someone needed to reign that little chubby beast in, but I  certainly wasn't going to do it.

I opened the front door, and there, completely wet, sobbing, stood another good friend. As quickly as possible, I ushered her through the door. Shaking, sobbing, her black, baggy-clothes dripping puddles all over my floor, she added to the chaos in my living room. The little chubster stuffed another spoonful (who are we kidding, he wasn't using a spoon... it was his fist) of peanut butter in his mouth, and my first, frowzy friend turned the iPad screen so that our newest addition could watch the latest antics of our favorite Lorelais.

I turned slowly to look at my house. Peanut butter everywhere. Chaos. Three incredibly needy people were now curled up on my couch monopolizing my day. One of them was still dripping. As I weakly attempted to clean up a peanut butter smear, I realized that there were puddles and dripping gray liquid all throughout my house. My two year old was playing in one of these puddles in a rather perplexed manner.

What had happened to my calm and peaceful day?!

 

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Did you have visitors yesterday, too? Have you ever opened your door to a frowsy, yoga-pant clad woman, and her remarkably fat little child? Did a dripping mess ever show itself on your door step? You had visitors, whether you realized it or not.

You see, yesterday, after writing a blog post about faithfulness, I made a mistake. In a moment of shaky-leg, post-biking weakness, I turned around and saw my dear friend Laziness standing at my door.

I should have slammed the door in her arrogant, entitled face.

Instead, I invited her in.

But laziness never comes alone. When she visits me, she tugs along a little guy known as Gluttony. And he will eat anything, everything, and all things. Even if you're not hungry. Even if you don't like him. He will creep into your life and you will stuff him and attempt to satiate him, because it's too hard to shove him out the door.

At the end of such miserable "play-dates," I firmly believe that each person wraps up their days with one more visitor. Maybe self-pity. Perhaps justification. Maybe your favorite is a very bad maid known as "Denial" who tries to sweep the peanut butter and Netflix barely out of sight.

I'm usually visited by a weeping, sodden mess known as "Despair."

That was yesterday. After a very long, honest confession with my heavenly Father, I'm ready for today. You see, the sad guests, like Despair, Laziness, and Gluttony tend to just show up on my doorsteps (they like to travel together). The wonderful, happy guests like Industry, Faithfulness, and Joy? I usually have to send them an engraved invitation. (Okay, who am I kidding, I usually have to don my cowboy boots, grab my lasso, and chase those suckers down in a farm yard.)

Who will be knocking on your door today? Take it from a weak, feeble sister... Be so careful who you let in. Sometimes they don't leave without a fight.