Let’s hear it for the American middle-class homeowner.
“Hey, where should we hang this? It makes great décor.”
My fine husband had removed the liner of our shower curtain—the one he bought many months ago. The one made not of vinyl, but of water resistant fabric. The one which we, scratch that, I would (theoretically) take down from time to time and wash with bleach. Ergo, we should (theoretically) always have a sparkling white cloth hanging inside the tub. After a year of neglect, it is now bespeckled with a mildew pattern resembling a hyena’s coat. Ah, the best-laid plans of mice and home owners so oft go awry.
We’ve been on a home improvement kick lately. This is a cycle in our lives. Scratch that. This would be a cycle in our lives if ever we completed the cycle.
I can always feel it coming on because I find myself watching too much DIY network. The good news is that this time around I’ve had some irrefutable moments of insight and clarity. Many times of late, I have exclaimed aloud while watching a few of these shows, “Why on earth would you put a $40,000 bathroom in that house?” Seriously. The understated living room whispers a plain-Jane, live-within-your-means lifestyle. Does it make sense, then, to knock out the walls of your guest room to clear a space for a fireplace and mini-bar in the same room where you bathe and (how’s a nice way to put this?) eliminate waste? I scoff ever more loudly at the landscaping shows that take ordinary, easily maintained, kid-friendly backyards and transform them into the Fantasy Island set.
“We want a space for us and for the kids,” the homeowner invariably says. In response, the designer cordons off an area smaller than my laundry room for the child to have the batting cage he has always dreamed of—as if a kid will never desire to do anything in the backyard but swing a bat.
Once upon a time I watched these shows and dreamed of an outdoor kitchen, shower jets to douse me from all directions, not one but two ovens, and an indoor grill. In the ten years we’ve been in this house, I must have wised up. These days, my first thought when I see these glimmering amenities is ack, I would hate to have all that to clean!
The shower curtain got its one and only bleach bath when I—scratch that—Todd bothered to take it off those tedious little rings. This is, on the average, more often than my one oven gets cleaned. And it’s a self cleaning oven. Who am I kidding? I can’t be trusted with two.
I was ruminating on this on the phone with my mom. We were having a good laugh about how gross we can be with things other people aren’t likely to see.
“There’s a spiritual application here, you know.” For those as biblically wise as my mother, there’s always a spiritual application. As usual, she’s right.
I’ve been doing a lot of searching in the last year. Todd was so sweet to —not begrudgingly agree—but encourage me to quit my teaching job and explore writing as a career change or consider going back to school. It’s impossible to describe how difficult it has been to pray and wait for God’s answers. I am still unsure of what His answers are exactly, but I can confidently say that this year has not been wasted at all.
Still, for all the spiritual benefit of the soul search itself, how often have I pouted with God that His plan isn’t dramatic enough or lacks that flashy quality for all the neighbors to envy? I mean, really! Shouldn’t we be able to transform the direction of my life in a weekend? C’mon, God! Let’s have the big reveal already!
I have this mental picture of God, leaning on his elbow over the arm of His jeweled throne, saying, “Wow, that shower curtain is grody. Let’s start small, shall we?” This reminds me of a verse about being trustworthy with little things before being blessed with greater things. In this case, how trustworthy have I been with the grunt work? Have I put in my dues?
I resent it as much as the next person when it’s suggested that I let go and let God. It frustrates me, too, when I can’t escape the Godly counsel that He is taking His time because He’s working on me. But that doesn’t make it any less true. The last year has been an overhaul of me. It has been very, very painful, but I’m so grateful for the net result. I’ve never loved Him more.
My aforementioned, oh-so-wise mother told me once, “God doesn’t always give us direct answers to our questions. He always reveals who He is.”
Talk about the big reveal.
Every time God takes me in a new direction, it’s always a perfect fit, no matter how painful the road may be. It’s nothing like the backyard that suits me completely but slights my family members.
Furthermore, because He is a very thorough God, His rehab of my life would not devote one-third of the value of the entire house solely to the bathroom.
For God’s priceless plan, a plan for my benefit and fulfillment and for His glory and Kingdom, a plan where He is revealed more and more and my love for Him keeps deepening, that’s the big reveal I’m waiting for—if somewhat impatiently.
So bring it, Lord. In the meantime, I am tackling the shower curtain and a few similarly grody tasks.