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

Showing Love, Serving in Coffee Hour

A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, February 2, 2014

 

tea party

Showing Love, Serving in Coffee Hour

I served others intentionally today. I co-hosted in Coffee Hour at my church. Another way of talking about it is that I showed people love in a concrete, down-to-earth way today.

I wonder—how difficult is it to serve people, on a regular basis? I could ask a few of my relatives. While looking for work doing other things, several of them did work in the service sector. Restaurant servers, cab drivers. As for me, I’ve worked for several years in customer service, and as a caregiver for seniors.

Hosting (actually, serving) in Coffee Hour after church on Sunday is serving, too (except not for pay). I co-hosted with a wonderful couple in my church. Together, we made sure that everything was laid out and ready for everyone to come downstairs and eat. Then, we served the muffins, breads, fruit, and veggies we had set out on the tables. Poured coffee, tea and ice water, too. Since I was the youngest of the three of us hosts, I was more than happy to run back and forth from the church kitchen. Running, fetching things people asked for, getting items forgotten in our rush to get everything ready. Service. An opportunity for me to make things easier for others.

But this is a new month. Thus, I’m concentrating on a different verse from Scripture. Last month was Ephesians 4:32, where I looked for ways to be kind and tenderhearted towards others. This month, I want to seek out ways to show love to others. The verse that I will concentrate on in February is 1 John 3:18, “Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.”

By being a host and serving others in Coffee Hour, I tried to show love in truth and action. Certainly a tangible way of making others comfortable, facilitating things, and providing a pleasant atmosphere for people to enjoy some food, friends and conversation after the morning service. I hope I made things easier for a number of seniors, but also for some parents of small children.

I recognize that serving at church (in other words, sticking around a little longer, not running out the door as soon as the postlude starts) is also a way to make closer connections. Service in the church or at other religious organizations helps me make better friends with some people I don’t otherwise know very well. I’ve had any number of opportunities to do this, too. If I should ever need more friends, this is one sure-fire way for me to find them, too.

What a chance for me to get out of myself. Or, to get out of my rut (whatever rut I’m currently in). Or, an opportunity to serve God. However I look at the service in Coffee Hour today, I enjoyed it. I felt good working with the wonderful couple, and being of service to the rest of the congregation. So, a win-win-win situation, all the way around. I was pleased with my morning of service. I think God was, too!

@chaplaineliza