Friday, July 11, 2008

Cram: To Pack Tight; Jam

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV

“Adversity is often the seedbed of opportunity.” Mark Batterson, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day

I am preparing for a house guest this week, and so I decided yesterday morning that I needed to wash one of our comforters for her bed. As I was cramming the fluffy white thing into my washer, I thought to myself, this is not a good idea; I really should take this to the Laundromat. But since I did not have time to go, I continued to cram it into the cavity of my less than optimal capacity washer. Later I came back to check on its progress. The clothing piled on the floor waiting for its turn to be washed was squishy and wet. While the washer filled with water, the too tightly crammed comforter allowed water to splash and run out all over the dirty clothes. Ever optimistic, I plunged forward and tried to wrestle the comforter out of the washer into the dryer. I assured myself that the comforter had spun out well enough, but then I noticed some grime from the washer rim on the corner of the comforter. I tried to rub it off and only made it worse. I surrendered and hauled the comforter into a basket and on to the Laundromat.

I brought a book along to read while I waited. The chapter in the book was about “reframing your problems” from God’s perspective. The title of the book is In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. That inspired the following entry title in my journal, which I also had brought along: In a Laundromat with a Comforter on a Humid Day. This little adversity with the comforter afforded me some time to reflect on not only my laundry dilemma, but also the current state of my life. To put it lightly my life has been tightly packed with way too many activities and commitments. I cringe when I open my planner. I cry out to the Master Scheduler of my days, “Help!” And he rescues me time and time again. I am so thankful for his patient love.

Even when I neglect to create time and space for Him, he optimizes my foolish ways and redirects me to his perfect ways. So I met with God in the Laundromat. He reminded me of my growing up years and my embarrassment of having to use a Laundromat. And yet it was a refuge of sorts. We would load up the station wagon, haul in the clothes and visit while we waited. We gave my younger sister rides in the roller carts, and I learned how my step-brother liked his jeans dried so they came out with less wrinkles. As an adult I have often found quiet moments on vacation while doing laundry. And I used to take the boys to Suds N’ Duds between camp and vacation to get all the clothes washed at once. We’d buy donut holes and eat them with soda for a treat while we waited. Waiting is good. It gives you time to reflect. And even though I had to pay $4.00 and spend 40 minutes out of my day, the time reading and reflecting was worth it. I even got to play the pinball machine. So the lesson for the day was do not cram the comforter into your home washing machine, go to the Laundromat, and enjoy some time with the Comforter of our Souls. Also watch how much you are jamming into your life and ask the Master Scheduler in advance what he wants on the agenda of your day or week.

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