Thinking Outside the Toilet

So yesterday I was plunging the toilet in one of my bathrooms (don’t judge me, it just needs done sometimes!) and I was thinking to myself:  plunging a toilet is the most disgusting thing in the world. I can’t believe I am even doing this. You would think by now that someone could invent a toilet that wouldn’t have this problem. What about that Dyson guy? He’s a genius. I mean, if he can invent a supersonic suction vacuum cleaner and a fan with no blades, surely the dude can make a toilet that won’t need me to do the sick deed of plunging it. I mean REALLY!!!

It was so dramatic in my head. The princess inside of me was screaming. But immediately after that thought, I heard “um, shut up…you have a toilet.” Now I am not claiming to have audibly heard this, but I think there are things you hear inside of yourself and things you can audibly hear outside of yourself and neither of them is any less real than the other.  Right away I was overwhelmed, as I finished the “all clear” brush & flush, by the fact that I don’t have to navigate a deeply dug hole with flies and the stench of human waste and Lord knows what else looming around as I do my business. And better yet, I don’t have a shallow “nose-powdering” ditch in my yard that is accessible to the whole community and creates a stream of sickness that neighborhood children have to try to step over when they walk through the streets. I don’t have to deal with any of those things. I just have to plunge a toilet once in a million years. SHUT UP.

So, that was what I called my cosmic bitch-slap for the day. It might sound crude, but don’t people need a big ol’ bitch-slap once in a while to calm them down and snap them back into reality? I apparently do. It’s those little moments in my life where I’m just feeling all sorry for myself until God breaks into my comfy little space and says REALLY, girl?!? (yes, that’s how He talks to me…if you don’t like it, get your own God-voice that sounds like Ned Flanders or something… but I hear a little ghetto in my God speak, okay?) He reminds me of just how good I have it and how instead of whining and complaining about my tiny, minute discomforts, I need to be thankful for the amazing level of comfort and convenience I enjoy on a daily basis.

So thank you, God, for incredible people who invent incredible things like the Dyson no-blade fan and cars and clean running water systems and of course, the flushable toilet. I have no idea how blessed I really am, even if I only count the things that I see as modern necessities (and if I’m honest, I count them as modern-day rights.) Show your love to those people everywhere who haven’t even heard of all of these conveniences, and are happy just to love you even without comfort and convenience. I pray you’ll send me a cosmic bitch-slap anytime I need one so I can become more like them.  I love you.

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The Image We Bear

Today while I was looking through some fo the dusty books on my very loved bookshelf, I came across a note that my husband had jotted down for me inside the cover of the book Wild at Heart by John Eldredge. He was re-writing a quote directly from the book (page 37 to be exact) which was speaking in general about the way in which we as humans bear the image of God. Specifically, this passage was speaking of how women and men bear different characteristics of God’s glory, and for that reason, we are different. This quote, very specifically, was speaking of how women in particular reflect the tenderness and beautiful mystery of our Creator. Here is my husband’s note to me… one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever received:

Just as Eve, you were created in the image of God, embodying the beauty, mystery, and tender vulnerability of God.

Commence with the chills and sighs. What a man. What a beautiful truth about myself, given to me from my husband, through this author, from the Creator of the Universe who wanted me to know who I really am and what I’m worth. Its beautiful. Ladies and gents, if we really knew who we were and what our Creator made us each to be, how would we approach life differently? Would women stop attempting to control their husbands? Would men stop looking for their self worth in their paychecks and bonuses? Would women stop looking in the mirror and berating themselves based on the lies they see about who they should be from the TV and from the latest Cosmo? Would men stop being afraid to fail and instead lead their families into developing rich, meaningful spiritual legacies?

My husband is brave enough to give me these reminders of who I was made to be. But will I be brave enough to accept them, breathe them in, and live them out in my daily life so I can bear the image of God in the way I was created to?

Cooperating with the Good

Saw this quote today:

Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it. My optimism, then, does not rest on the absence of evil, but on a glad belief in the preponderance of good and a willing effort always to cooperate with the good, that it may prevail. -Helen Keller

I love it. I want to read it over and over and let it really sink down into me, to a place where I would agree wholeheartedly with each word. I even looked up preponderance to make sure I fully understood the word I was pretty sure I knew already. I did. But I had to be sure. I HAD to because I have been feeling so… so…. unsettled lately. I just can’t get started, let alone comfortable with, the fact that so much suffering and pain is happening to people right in my own little circle of friends and loved ones, not to even mention the billions of people everywhere else in the world. I keep trying to ask why its all happening. I tried the fist-shaking “its not fair” gig. Neither of those things seemed to work. I kind of want to be mad at God right now. I have my moments where I’m pretty sure I am. Like Friday night when I got the call that my co-worker died. She died after a long battle with cancer. We knew the call was coming, but it didn’t make it easier. Or like Thursday night when I was texting my friend to ask about how she was doing, and how her daughter was doing with her 2nd chemo treatment. She informed me that her hair was falling out and that it would likely all be gone by the next day, which also happens to be her daughter’s 13th birthday. Nice. Seriously God, what is up with that? Its those moments where I have tried really really hard to be mad at Him. I mean I HATE cancer right now like I’ve never hated it or anything else before. It took a friend from me earlier this year. It took another friend this week and I refuse to think that it will take a young gal who is incredibly wise and mature beyond her years. That’s not happening. Nope.

Today as I stood in the middle of downtown with thousands of other people at the end of Race for the Cure, I listened to Chris Spielman speak encouraging words to the Survivors who were there celebrating their lives, I even wanted to be mad at God that all of them had to go through that craziness. I really did. But at the same time, I knew that wasn’t doable, because all I could think of was that for every one of the Survivors up there, and for every one of the “in memory of…” labels that I saw today, there were probably 5 people that were there just to support, encourage, and celebrate them. So in that crowd, with tears running down my face, I decided to just stop trying to be mad at God for allowing any of the yucky stuff to happen. Instead, I decided to keep being part of the good side–to cooperate with the good, as Helen Keller put it–and to assault evil with acts of kindness and love, because there’s nothing at all that evil can really do about it.  

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. -Romans 12:9

Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good. -Romans 12:21