I haven’t had my dog Charlie for very long, but one thing I have learnt is that he can get very dirty very quickly; and on a mostly white dog – it shows! It probably has something to do with the fact he has shortish legs, and is quite happy running through long wet grass, boggy puddles, and muddy ditches, especially if he is chasing his ball! Consequently, in my garden I have created ‘Charlie’s cleaning station’. Nothing complicated, just a large paving slab at the edge of a raised flower bed near the back door, and within reach of the garden hose. I don’t think he likes it very much – cold water being sprayed down his legs and under his tummy, and then a brisk rub with a towel – but without it I couldn’t let him back in the house! While I was cleaning Charlie off last week after a very wet and muddy woodland walk (or in Charlie’s case a very wet and muddy woodland run), I got to thinking, like I often do. We can sometimes be a bit like Charlie, picking up dirt as we walk through our daily lives. Dirt and grime like negativity, dissatisfaction, irritation, and other unhelpful attitudes seem to rub off on us so easily. We get cross because the car heater is broken and the part is out of stock. Then we have a bad nights sleep, and crawl miserably through the whole of the next day. Just when we think things can’t get any worse, we step out of the supermarket door with a trolley load of food, and it starts to rain. Then to cap it all, when we’re already stuck in traffic on the way home, that big posh car cuts us up at the roundabout! Grouch grouch, grumble grumble, ** ** ! And the only person that bad mood really hurts is ourselves, and maybe our families. It’s at that point – or maybe before we get to that point – we need to pull into ‘God’s cleaning station’, and get all the dirt and grime cleaned off. We need to admit our failures, acknowledge we need His help in washing off the unpleasant things we’ve picked up, and ask Him to make us clean again. Sometimes it’s not a nice experience, but it’s always worthwhile.