Sometimes you’ve just got to laugh to keep from crying. Honestly, it is a way of survival.
Some of you may remember a couple of weeks ago I told you about waking up to a house full of things that had gone wrong. But for those who do not know, let me tell you the story and for those of you who may have forgotten, let me refresh your memory.
When I woke up I thought the house seemed a little chilly, but it was 30 something degrees outside so I brushed the thought of a broken furnace out of my mind, grabbed my robe and headed to the kitchen. During my morning routine, I discovered I was out of paper towels and started to laundry room where we keep a shelf of extra paper products and such. As I stepped into the room I was jolted to a sudden stop by the shock of cold water on my foot. What was water doing on the laundry room floor? Ugh! It didn’t take me long to figure out that the hot water heater was leaking and probably broken.
As I hopped around on one foot while taking the wet sock off the other, I reminded myself, “This could still be a great day.” When I walked back into the kitchen I realized with my foot uncovered that it really did seem unusually cold in the house. I decided I would check the thermostat, it was 67 degrees and dropping. Seriously?!
And, one more thing, I was having to borrow my dad’s car because our van was in the shop.
At this point I decided I was going to make the best of this bedeviled day. I said this out loud to myself a lot as I took a cold shower in a cold house on a cold morning. Haven’t taken a shower like that since kids’ camp many, many years ago.
I have a new appreciation for hot water heaters.
Now, I am a firm believer that God uses everything in our lives to teach us. Sometimes it’s an easy lesson, I like those the best. But sometimes it takes a while to get it through my thick head so the lesson has to be a lot harder, I am not a big fan of those.
Fast forward to present.
Apparently I’m still learning the lesson a couple of weeks later. A lesson I wish I’d hurry up and figure out so things will quit falling apart. Did I mention the day the furnace and the hot water heater went out that our cable quit as well, turns out it was some type of cord that went bad.
Well, last night we had family over to watch the Super bowl and you can probably guess what happened. Cable started acting up. We have long since replaced the unreliable cord so we have no idea what was going on. No big deal, except for the fact that it was the SUPER BOWL and my entire family came over to watch it with us. They were all very gracious and we limped through it.
I’ve asked the Lord, what exactly are you trying to teach me through all of this? Am I being ungrateful, I will definitely work on it. Complaining too much? Lord, cleanse my heart and teach me to speak life. This is the dialogue I am having with myself as little things keep happening.
There must be something I’m doing that I need to change or do better.
This morning I was startled by the phone ringing at a very early hour. It was my husband. He was headed to work out of town and called to give me the “good” news that our beloved van of seventeen years was officially dying.
In the midst of all the other appliances and household apparatuses breaking, our van was dying a slow painful death. We had been playing musical cars with family members while it was in and out of the shop, but, now it seems that it is just losing all power. It just can’t make it up any kind of a hill, and even a slight incline sends it into a slow coma. It slows down and nearly coughs to death until it gets back to flat ground. Very stressful to the driver and I am sure unnerving to the poor unsuspecting souls who wonder what in the world is wrong with the man in the green van? Is he drunk? Falling asleep at the wheel? If only they knew.
Thankfully, my man loves a good challenge. He loves to pilot vehicles of all kinds and when one is in trouble, he prides himself in being able to master it and save the day by fixing it. He could probably be a master mechanic with all that he has learned from Google and YouTube about fixing and maintaining old vehicles. Seriously.
Thank you to everyone who ever figured out how to fix an obscure problem on an old vehicle and then posted a video to YouTube telling how you did it. We are forever indebted to you.
Anyway, he called me to tell me about the symptoms the van was having and that he felt like it was in its final days. So sad. But, on this particular morning, he was more concerned about getting to the airport so he could get to work than he was about the well-being of our beloved vehicle.
He was particularly concerned about a bridge that he was going to have to cross that is nothing more than a large hill with not much of a shoulder to pull off on if there is an emergency. The highway he was traveling was full of traffic and he was in the middle of it accelerating and decelerating on every incline.
They, the van and he, must have been such a sight.
At last he makes it to the bridge, the dreaded hill. Thankfully, the old girl keeps running and running up to the top. But, as a kind of cruel joke the pick-up truck in front of the duo has a spare tire that slips out of the bed and bounces down the road straight toward them. Keep in mind that there isn’t much power in the van, but, she manages to dodge the bouncing sphere of rubber headed her way. Even in her last days she is still coming through for her owner.
Made it over the bridge.
What a relief! Now I can get off the phone, get dressed for work and not worry about my man who is praying hard that his vehicle will make it all the way to the airport. Fifteen minutes later I get a call and now the poor thing is running hot. Is this for real? He tells me “when I come to a red light I put it in neutral and rev it up so it won’t quit, but then it starts running hot. You need to pray.”
How much farther is the airport, I hear you mutter? Exactly what I asked! He was almost there. Only couple more red lights and inclines. I get tickled when I think of him sitting at a red light revving the engine as if challenging the guy next to him to a race. Ha! Some kid somewhere probably told their friends that some old man in minivan wanted to race this morning.
Well, he made it. I was a nervous wreck and he felt like he had wrestled with fate and won. I was determined to see the lesson in our tumultuous morning and he was thrilled to be on time for his flight. In the middle of all these differing emotions, I believe the Lord began to shed some light.
I need to relax.
And I don’t mean the lying in bed with a good book kind of relaxing. I mean to relax into my life and allow the good and bad to roll in and out without letting it upset me so. How I respond to these constant irritants is just as important as how I respond to the big upheavals of life. Maybe more so because the small stuff happens so much more often.
I’m crossing my fingers that that is the lesson.
Whatever the Lord is teaching me through this very aggravating season, I want to learn to respond to it better. Whether I wake up to water, in the cold or end up without a vehicle, I want to look to the Lord and say, “okay, Father, what are you going to do with this one? Can’t wait to see how you show up and work it out.”
Am I there yet? Nah. But, it is definitely something I will be praying about and striving toward. That’s one thing I’ve begun to deeply appreciate about my relationship with the Lord, it is never boring. Never.
Oh, and just to end this day right, I left my bananas at Wal Mart. Yes, I really did. I paid for them and then left the bag at the register. So, if you’re reading this and you got home with bananas and you have no idea where they came from, you’re welcome.
Prayer: Father, you are always teaching us, growing us and stretching us farther than we think we can go. Your desire is for us to learn and change from the inside out with your help. As we face the everyday frustrations of life, remind us that they are opportunities for you to show up and save the day. You always have our best interest at heart. You are faithful and nothing comes into our lives without your permission. Help us to relax and enjoy the day and to learn to enjoy watching you work it all out in a way that only you can. We love you and trust you. In Jesus Name, Amen.
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6