Taste, Touch, Smell, Hear, See. Those are the five windows that we peer through to see the world surrounding us. The fresh strawberries are tasted with buds, the soft grass is touched with toes, the earthy dirt is smelled with nostrils, the whistling wind is heard with drums, and the shapes of clouds are seen with eyes. Every experience is passed through those windows, from the light to the smells to the sounds.
A child in the mud feels the wet, moldable dirt squishing in his fingers and streaking his clothes. The earth is warm by the sun that bakes the mud onto his skin. He sits there crafting a masterpiece from his imagination. His ideas are rampant, but he settles on the humble mud pie. As he pats the mud into a disc he observes the world around him, trying to find what will complete his masterpiece. Once it is in the perfect pie form he plucks some grass from the meadow and garnishes the top of his delectable treat. He sets it in the sun to bask and grins with contentment.
Once the mud pie is baked, he knows just what to do with it. He picks it up and saunters over, with muddy jeans and a mile-wide smile, to the back door of his house. With his hands full he gently taps the back door with his foot. He waits there filling with expectancy until his mother opens the door, free and inviting. Her straggly hair is pinned back, her apron is soiled with remnants from lunch, and her hands are coated in soapy suds. As soon as she opens the door she squeals with excitement at the sight before her. She sees his muddy clothes and her disrupted flower bed, but is overjoyed with her son’s craftiness. He offers her the pie and she places it on the window sill as if it were the real deal.
A passionate woman sits at Jesus’ feet weeping. She wets the dirt on his feet with her tears and wipes it away with her hair. Her heart is full of love and devotion to Jesus, so she stoops to the lowest place: the mud. She places her heart before him with her loving gestures, yet still feels like it is not enough.
So, she takes the alabaster jar of expensive fragrant oil. The pearly white vase glistens against the muddled dirt surrounding her. The sweet smell lifts from the vessel without a wafting or a sprinkling. There is no hesitation as she breaks the jar and pours out the oil all over Jesus’ feet. The fortune contained in the vessel of oil is all poured out on Jesus at once. He leans down and offers her a pleasing smile. She has anointed him for burial, priceless.
The apostles scold her, saying that her choice in pouring the oil on Jesus was nonsensible. How many poor lives could be enriched by the profits from selling this expensive oil? They didn’t see that lavish love to the one who adores matters most
And so, a child and a woman do two nonsensical things. One makes a mud pie and one pours out oil. Both actions were received with appreciation and open arms. How lovely is it that when we give our best or give our attempt at the best it is received just the same? Love is patient, love is kind, it endures.