They looked clean in the dark, but once I could see clearly the dirt and grime were obvious. This is actually not the first time this has happened, so apparently I have not learned my lesson yet. What I have learned though is that it's easier to be satisfied with the state of things in the dark. Sometimes Miguel and I will even joke, "Should we clean the kitchen, or just turn off the lights?"
But I decided to turn on the lights and clean. And the more I cleaned, the more I noticed that needed to be clean. I scrubbed the counters and stepped back to appreciate how great they looked, but instead I wondered, "Where in the world did those spots on the walls come from?!" So I cleaned the walls and when I opened the cupboard to throw away the wipes I wondered, "How have I been living with this sticky mystery goo on my cupboards? And how have I never noticed it?"
When I thought I was finally done cleaning, I washed my hands and then I stopped. "What is that behind the faucet?"
I had never noticed any of those things until I started to really clean. They were small things and when I was focused on a pile of dishes in the sink or soup spilled on the stove I couldn't even see them. But once I took care of the big things, I noticed the small things, and they suddenly seemed like big things. And then I noticed more small things... It seemed like the lights just kept getting brighter and brighter, revealing more things that needed to be cleaned. But eventually, the kitchen was spotless and it felt great.
This always reminds me of a New Testament class I took in college from Camille Fronk Olson. During one of the lessons she said something like this: "When you come into the light of Christ, your inadequacies and imperfections will be revealed. You can either turn back into the darkness and pretend you never saw the defect, or you can continue in the light and be cleansed by the Atoning blood of Jesus Christ."
It is always easier to just turn off the lights. Seeing the dirt and grime in our lives is painful. But the dark can't heal us. It can't even really hide our imperfections. And it certainly can't soothe our souls. In the moment it may seem that darkness is more satisfying, but eventually the sun will rise and if we are not clean our imperfections will be revealed.
Christ will come again. The earth will be filled with light. There are many in the world whose "works are in the dark" who ask, "Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?" (Isaiah 29:15) But when Christ comes again, there will be no place to hide any uncleanliness.
There are few things more satisfying to me than a perfectly clean kitchen, sparkling in the light with all the dishes done, all the counters cleaned, the floor swept and mopped and not even any pans hidden in the oven. I feel fresh and confident when my kitchen looks like that. I hope I feel as spotless and unashamed as I stand before the Savior. I must come into His light, and continue in His light--as painful as it may be--until I am perfectly clean, until my life is gleaming like my kitchen (occasionally) is.
"That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day." (Doctrine and Covenants 50:24)