. . . and this world has everything.
All that i could want, and nothing that i need.
It was a Sunday night, and we were getting ready to go to a new small group for the first time. We've been attending a particular church for a few months, and had been anxious to check out a small group. The leaders of this group had invited us repeatedly, but it took a couple of weeks before we were available. Finally, this week it had worked out.
The Professor said, "I'm just going to get something from downstairs real fast." Except it wasn't real fast. Once down there, he saw that the water heater was leaking. The water had seeped through the wall into the next room. The carpet in a certain area was wet. That area was where we had stacked up lots of books. You see, The Professor really likes books. He has a lot of them. Our condo back in the Big City had these awesome built-in bookshelves (which is one of the reasons we bought the place). (The other reason was the secret kitty passageway.) When we moved to the Kingdom of the Cornstalks, the built-in bookshelves stayed, but the books came with us. We didn't\don't have money to buy new bookshelves, so all the books got stacked up downstairs. In the section with all the water.
So we abandoned our plans for small group and instead began frantically moving all the books so they wouldn't keep getting more and more wet. Our poor landlord had to come over on a Sunday night and pull up the carpet. While we were salvaging soggy books, The Professor said, "Well, i guess we just keep learning to hold loosely to the things of this world."
I myself had the opportunity to learn that lesson the week before.
You've all heard by now the joyous news that we are expecting another baby! Well, the first trimester was extremely rough. Due to the dizziness, motion sickness, nausea, fatigue, and generalized ickiness of those 12 weeks, not a whole lot of housework got done around here. Finally one day i felt halfway human again, and was motivated to whip this place into shape. As is the case with all things cosmic, it was a very all-or-nothing scenario. After several weeks of "nothing", i had swung to the opposite extreme of full-capacity, 100%, go-big-or-go-home "all."
I threw some laundry in the wash and got started on my true love of vacuuming. Some of you have regrettably noticed that i have very lax standards when it comes to the stovetop, but i do place high emphasis on a clean floor. It was the main thing that had been bothering me during my "lay on the couch and moan" first trimester. I started in the kitchen, but had only vacuumed about 1\3 of the kitchen when the vacuum died. Just up and died. I did a limited amount of troubleshooting, to the best of my mechanical ability, but no success. Very disheartening.
"It's okay," I said. "I'll just go rotate the laundry." That would give the vacuum time to reconsider, and maybe after a rest it would be ready to work.
My trip downstairs to the washing machine revealed that it also had problems. The machine had filled up with water and then shut off. I couldn't get it to start again. Now i had a whole load of clothes swimming in a tank full of cold, soapy water.
In that moment, of going 0-for-2 in the Good Housekeeping department, i was overwhelmed. I thought i could redeem myself after 12 weeks' worth of wifely guilt through some hard work, but my efforts were thwarted.
I had learned to let go of our need for curtains. I had let go of my need for a kitchen table. I had let go of my desire for a sewing desk so i could make awesome thrifty clothes for our family.
But how to you hold loosely to a vacuum cleaner?
I must confess i did cry over it. I want to serve my family well, and i want to take good care of The Professor by cleaning his clothes and keeping an orderly house. Things out of my control were preventing me from doing that. It was more than just holding loosely to a vacuum cleaner; it required me to hold loosely to my self-worth.
In this time of scarcity, we're definitely being challenged to put into practice some Bible passages that we've never needed before. Things like:
- Do not worry, saying 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'
- The Lord will provide
- My grace is sufficient for you
- Be anxious for nothing
One thing i've really been thinking about is in Matthew 6, Jesus says: "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them." For basically the first time in my life, i have NOTHING stored away in the barn. When the vacuum cleaner dies, i have NOTHING with which to buy a new one. I can only and solely depend on my Father's provision for that day, and that day alone. We are living on manna around here! We have just enough for today, but not enough for tomorrow.
And yet, He is providing. For starters, we have an offer on our condo! After 6 months on the market with minimal activity, the Lord provided an offer. And then, we got another one! Two offers! It's in the bank's hands now, so we will watch and pray. We will wait on the Lord. We will be anxious for nothing.
Well, we will be anxious for nothing . . . for about 5 minutes. And then I'm sure to catch myself being anxious again and have to pray and start over.
This world has nothing.