Showing Love by Updating the Bathroom

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, February 19, 2014

bathroom - Roy Lichtenstein, Pop art, 1961

bathroom – Roy Lichtenstein, Pop art, 1961

Showing Love by Updating the Bathroom

What would you do if you got a sum of money? What would I do, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you.

First, I’ll give a little background, so you understand just why I asked that question. I received a small inheritance recently. I thought about it, prayed about it, and gave a portion of it away (to my church, and to two missionaries I’ve known for many years). One of the decisions I made was to update and renovate the bathroom in our condominium. Our building is about sixty-five years old, and the bathroom has not been updated in all that time. Everything still original. Everything still works, but things are a bit scruffy around the edges.

The contractor came over today. He and I talked, and I’m several steps closer to making this prudent decision a reality. The contractor blocked out the time in about five weeks, and I’ll start researching exactly what I want to purchase. Not really expensive, but certainly not super cheap. Pretty much middle of the road, except for the plumbing fixtures (which I very much want to be of excellent manufacture and condition). So, Home Depot? Menard’s? Here I come!

As I reflect on our modest condo, I cannot help but be reminded of how much this story relates to me and my physical self. My spiritual self. My emotional self. I’m in decent shape, too, if a bit scruffed up around the edges. Everything in my life and experience works and fits, for sure. But I am not certain whether I want to tell God, “hands off! That’s quite enough.” At least, I don’t think I want to.

Let’s stretch this analogy a bit further. I can think of God as my general contractor. I am the condo (or, small house). Sometimes, I get up the gumption (or, some might think it the foolishness) to have God redo a room or two. More often than not, God takes the initiative to do some remodeling.  I do not always agree, but God is my General Contractor, after all. I may not want the “kitchen” stripped down to the studs, or the “first floor windows” reframed, or the “sewer pipes” rodded out. Gosh, I may have smaller, gentler, kinder contracting jobs in mind, like washing the “outdoor wraparound porch” or changing the” light bulbs” on various appliances.

The verse that I am focusing on in February is 1 John 3:18, “Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.” What could be more loving than making certain that the bathroom in our condo is a warm, welcoming, fully-functioning place? This particular room is a basic need, true! But when it’s done, remodeled and up-to-date, I will feel real satisfaction. I wonder whether God feels the same way about me, when a “remodeling job” is finished in my internal dwelling place, too?

I’ll need to consult some more with my General Contractor. God willing, I’ll do just that, when I pray and meditate tomorrow morning.

@chaplaineliza

Internal Life? Or External Walk?

A Year of Being Kind blog post for Monday, December 30, 2013

Internal Life? Or External Walk?

            For the past few years, I’ve been concerning myself with—myself. I have been striving to maintain some kind of spiritual balance, working on my internal, spiritual component. I pray regularly (or at least, try to). I visit my therapist and spiritual director regularly, work out on a weekly basis at the local YMCA gym, and I even practiced relaxation and meditation in an intensive way for several months. In all of this, I have been working on the inner “me.”

I have also been intentional with my prayer life. Not only have I been praying on an increasingly regular basis, but I’ve also started a prayer chain and prayer blog, so we all can be encouraged in our personal prayer lives. This helps my inner relationship with God prosper, too.

            But, what about my relationship with others? How about my family? Friends? What about those at church, or at the gym? What about my co-workers, or strangers I meet on the street? Have I been as studious and diligent at developing my relationship with them?

            Yes, I am called by God to be in relationship with God—the vertical relationship.  But I am also called to be in community, as well—the horizontal relationship, one with another. One of my spiritual gifts is helping people. And by nature, I am kind and compassionate in my relations with others. It’s my relationship with others and with my local community (as well as their relationship with me) that I want to work on in 2014.

            That’s why 2014 is my year to be kind. To help. To be of service. Intentionally.