Brazil--Week 3

I bought a bottle of bleach today. But don't let the simplicity of that statement deceive you. I now say bleach with the awe and reverence of new discovery. Today, somewhere in the streets of Brazil, I decided that a good man--the modern continuation of all the ancient Charming virtues--is like a bottle of bleach.

He's clean. In fact he's so clean, the only way to show how honestly clean he is demands that we dress him in a white shirt and give him a shiny bald head. Spotless.

He never lets you down. I open my kitchen cabinet to put my life back into some semblance of logical, working order and there he is--a constancy I never appreciated until I had to recognize such comfort by a new, exotic name. Agua sanitária. That even SOUNDS romantic.

I don't have to ask twice. I don't have to ask once. I don't even have to ask in Portuguese! If he's real bleach, he cleans my bathroom, my kitchen, my clothes every time--same results. He is a help meet, or equal to, the task of dedicating a home to the Lord. To the language of Deity, the scriptural injunction to "Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing, and establish a house... a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God," my bleach can always respond, "Here am I, send me." I expect that when I combine the devotion of my arms with the potency of his strength, we will get the job done together. With him I can annihilate millions of unseen malevolent microorganisms by the second.

To me, that's real power.

He gives me sparkling new things every time I see him--not because he buys a replacement we can't afford--but because he takes care of what we already have, so my things always seem new to me.

He's gentle enough to clean my vegetables, and effective at getting rid of bugs. And he's not to be underestimated--he could kill a man if I needed him to do so. But most of the time he's to be with me by the sink; quietly leaving me to my own private wonderland to which cleaning and other general housewifery permit me entrance. He is ready to tackle anything and everything life throws at me with everything he's got.

My Prince Charming goes by another name--and no, it's not Captain Moroni. It's Mr. Clean.

Words can't really do justice to the relief I felt here--surrounded in foreign language, food, customs, and culture--once I finally found some help I could recognize. I prayed for strength, and I'm still exhausted. I prayed for wisdom, and I'm still largely confounded. I prayed for a miracle, and nothing in my situation has changed for the better.

So I went back to the basics. In a Nephi-esque moment of last resort if I've EVER had one, I asked for ore--the stuff by which the tools to forge miracles are made. (See 1 Nephi 17: 9-10)

And what was the response, the mercy which God extended to me?

I thought I knew miracles--then, today... I bought a bottle of bleach.

I am, as ever, your humble servant and never-deviating friend,
Sister Doyle

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