I Need a Little Help from My Friends—with a Vacuum Cleaner?

(the Best of) A Year of Being Kind, Wednesday, February 11, 2015

As I said in this Best Of post, I enjoy helping out. I do have the spiritual gifts of helps. (Yes, it’s true.) Reading through this post, I see I did a kind thing here. You could do something kind, too!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, February 10, 2014

vintage doll vacuum cleaner

vintage doll vacuum cleaner

 

I Need a Little Help from My Friends—with a Vacuum Cleaner?

I took the opportunity to be kind today, in several ways. But the one that stuck in my mind was being kind by vacuuming. One problem—but I’ll get to that, later.

Let me back up. I often have the chance to do things for senior citizens. Lots of different things, like shopping, errands, doing the dishes, vacuuming. I’ve said before that I have the gift of helps. I’ve noticed this gift from a very early age. I liked doing things for people, and often doing things for older people. At church, in the neighborhood, even on the bus or in a store. I would often happen upon older people who have dropped their keys, or their glove, or their shopping list, so I picked it up for them. Or, I pass by a senior citizen in a mall parking lot who was trying to load their bags into their car. I helped out there, too.

I know I’ve talked in this blog before about an older friend of mine who works for a large senior citizen facility here in this suburb. She told me a few years ago, “You ought to have ‘Good with seniors’ printed on your forehead. Because, you are!” I must admit, yes. Yes, I am. It’s true.

This led me to reflect, how would the Bible tell me to act toward seniors? As I reflected further, I realized that there are several specific verses that I can think of, telling me how to behave in an appropriate manner with elders. One I’ll mention is Leviticus 19:32, which tells its readers to stand up before (or, honor) “the gray head” ( i.e., seniors). Biblically speaking, older people are supposed to be respected and cared for. (This led me to think of the seniors who are sadly warehoused in today’s society. But that’s a subject for another blog post.)

So, I took this opportunity to be kind to a senior today. I vacuumed. Except, I had a bit of a problem. I had never used this particular vacuum cleaner before. At first, I thought there was some idiosyncracy with the vacuum. However, I opened it up and checked the bag on the inside. Yup. It was full. Rats! I wasn’t sure where the extra bags were kept. What to do? I really wanted to take care of this chore, and the vacuum cleaner simply wasn’t working properly.

The next thing I knew, a new acquaintance of mine helped me out. Together, we were able to find the bag, struggled to get the bag replaced in the upright cleaner (tricky fit!), and I finished up the task. Much better now! Without that help, without the teamwork, I would have had a lot of difficulty finishing the vacuuming. It seems like a little thing, but it stuck in my head. I was grateful! And, I said thank you.

It’s good to be working together, helping each other out. I do need a little help from my friends and acquaintances, I must admit. I ask for help more often, now. I’m not too proud. At least, most of the time.

@chaplaineliza

(Suggestion: visit me at my daily blog for 2015: matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers. Thanks!)

Of Service, with a Vacuum (Cleaner, That Is)

A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, May 25, 2014

car-wash and sponge drawing

Of Service, with a Vacuum (Cleaner, That Is)

Today is (was) the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it! Today was also Sunday. A wonderful day, and perfectly gorgeous outside.

I worked this morning. I do enjoy leading worship and preaching, very much! I hope and pray that the service was a blessing to many people. And afterwards, I finished up watching a video this afternoon. (My thinking? All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl, indeed!) After some computer work, a few emails, and a few tweets on Twitter, my daughter and I went out to clean up the car. After all, I have a number of family members coming into town tomorrow!

One of my sisters is hosting a family reunion this week. For my part, I said I would be happy to fetch people from the airport, and drive them around town while they are here. One problem: the car needed to be cleaned out. I do this periodically, but I hadn’t done it thoroughly since last fall. Our car badly needed cleaning! Vacuuming, and general tidying up.

We have one of those do-it-yourself car washes in town. Plus, the car wash also features several heavy-duty, industrial strength vacuum cleaners. Good for clearing and cleaning out vehicles, both large and small. When I need to clean out our car, I make a beeline for this place. Accordingly, I tidied the car, cleared out all the miscellaneous junk and stuff that needed to be thrown away, and vacuumed the car.

Meanwhile, my daughter cleaned the inside windows, and the dashboard and control panel. I know we didn’t do anything like deep cleaning, but it’s amazing how nice and tidy the car looks now! And, it’s ready to pick up and drop off my family, too.

Routine maintenance, that’s one way of looking at it. Gosh, I could make an analogy out of this, without much difficulty! Regular, routine cleaning of my mind. My intellect. My emotional state. My feelings. If I tidy up mentally, from time to time, I feel better. I am more likely to be on an even keel, emotionally. Part of my mental-cleaning routine involves prayer. Meditation. Mindfulness practices. And more recently—in the past six months—I have added gentle yoga. All helpful to me!

This kind of mental, routine maintenance certainly helps me get things in order to be kind. Do acts of service. Take opportunities to be helpful. I am going to be helpful to my family! Since I ordinarily don’t have much of an opportunity to see them (most of them live out of state!), I am very glad for this chance. I am looking forward to a family-filled next few days!

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Yesterday—Vacuum Cleaner, Today—Washing Machine

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, February 11, 2014

washing machine image

Yesterday—Vacuum Cleaner,  Today—Washing Machine

Yesterday, I did not pray for an act of service to come my way today. At least, I didn’t intentionally pray. I am not sure whether the prayers I’ve been praying periodically had an effect. (I’m half-joking, but half-not.) However, several acts of service came my way today.

Yesterday, I wrote about using a vacuum cleaner to help out a senior, and the complications that arose. Today, I used a washing machine to help out a senior. Sure enough, some complications came up today, too.

This string of events reminded me of helping out Mrs. W when I was in high school. She was an awesome older lady. And I mean, older. As in, elderly. She was the mother of Mrs. S, one of the middle-aged church ladies at my Lutheran church in Chicago. But back to Mrs. W. She was essentially housebound, and lived in a beautiful, well-kept, older brick house. She used a wheelchair and walker to ambulate around her house, but she was one of the most lively, interesting people I remember from my childhood.

Some complications came up when I was helping Mrs. W out, too. I did some deep cleaning in her kitchen, and got thoroughly slimed by the filthy broiler pan under her oven. That was okay, because I cleaned up using some cleanser and dishwashing liquid on me AND on the pan. But it took some time to clean up the pan, and clean me up, too.

Today, the washing machine wasn’t working properly. Except, I didn’t know that before I loaded it and started filling the machine with water. Fortunately, I was able to manually hit individual cycles (quick rinse, and extra spin). Gingerly, I finished the load of laundry and transferred it to the dryer.  (The repairman is coming tomorrow, I think.)

What a life lesson! Sometimes, no matter how hard I try or what I do, things just don’t turn out the way they are “supposed to.” Yesterday, the vacuum cleaner just wouldn’t pick up some of the tiny bits of paper, crumbs and other small odds and ends. Today’s problem was more serious, but not the end of the world. I was still able to get the laundry done.

God, do You want me to learn something from today and yesterday?1)  Some life lesson, or pertinent piece of wisdom? 2)  I know, Don’t worry! Umm, no, another guess—don’t be afraid! Mm, I’m not sure. Or is it 3) one more time, You are always with me, no matter what!

Yeah, that’s it. I know the first two lessons are also true, but the third feels especially true today. God, You are with me, even though I have greasy sludge on my hands from a stove.  God, You are with me, though I fiddle and growl at a strange vacuum cleaner. And God, You are right by my side, even though I am dealing with a recalcitrant washing machine, refusing to operate the way it should.  I am reminded of a verse from 1 Peter 5:7. “Cast all your anxiety on God, because God cares for you.”

I think that ‘s what You wanted me to get from my adventures with household appliances. Thanks, God!

@chaplaineliza

I Need a Little Help from My Friends—with a Vacuum Cleaner?

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, February 10, 2014

vintage doll vacuum cleaner

vintage doll vacuum cleaner

I Need a Little Help from My Friends—with a Vacuum Cleaner?

I took the opportunity to be kind today, in several ways. But the one that stuck in my mind was being kind by vacuuming. One problem—but I’ll get to that, later.

Let me back up. I often have the chance to do things for senior citizens. Lots of different things, like shopping, errands, doing the dishes, vacuuming. I’ve said before that I have the gift of helps. I’ve noticed this gift from a very early age. I liked doing things for people, and often doing things for older people. At church, in the neighborhood, even on the bus or in a store. I would often happen upon older people who have dropped their keys, or their glove, or their shopping list, so I picked it up for them. Or, I pass by a senior citizen in a mall parking lot who was trying to load their bags into their car. I helped out there, too.

I know I’ve talked in this blog before about an older friend of mine who works for a large senior citizen facility here in this suburb. She told me a few years ago, “You ought to have ‘Good with seniors’ printed on your forehead. Because, you are!” I must admit, yes. Yes, I am. It’s true.

This led me to reflect, how would the Bible tell me to act toward seniors? As I reflected further, I realized that there are several specific verses that I can think of, telling me how to behave in an appropriate manner with elders. One I’ll mention is Leviticus 19:32, which tells its readers to stand up before (or, honor) “the gray head” ( i.e., seniors). Biblically speaking, older people are supposed to be respected and cared for. (This led me to think of the seniors who are sadly warehoused in today’s society. But that’s a subject for another blog post.)

So, I took this opportunity to be kind to a senior today. I vacuumed. Except, I had a bit of a problem. I had never used this particular vacuum cleaner before. At first, I thought there was some idiosyncracy with the vacuum. However, I opened it up and checked the bag on the inside. Yup. It was full. Rats! I wasn’t sure where the extra bags were kept. What to do? I really wanted to take care of this chore, and the vacuum cleaner simply wasn’t working properly.

The next thing I knew, a new acquaintance of mine helped me out. Together, we were able to find the bag, struggled to get the bag replaced in the upright cleaner (tricky fit!), and I finished up the task. Much better now! Without that help, without the teamwork, I would have had a lot of difficulty finishing the vacuuming. It seems like a little thing, but it stuck in my head. I was grateful! And, I said thank you.

It’s good to be working together, helping each other out. I do need a little help from my friends and acquaintances, I must admit. I ask for help more often, now. I’m not too proud. At least, most of the time.

@chaplaineliza