a more-like-a-brother-than-friend gave me a compliment quite some time ago, when he mused that he “didn’t know where i came up with some of the connections that i write about sometimes.” i admitted to him that it was not really me that came up with that stuff. in and of myself, i could never see things that deeply or broadly. but when my ears and heart are tuned to the Spirit, i make connections to deeper and broader truths that are encased in everyday sort of things.
it happened to me once again yesterday morning. after i finished my solitary time with God, i was off for a shave and shower. if you happened to be generally aware of my section of the medicine closet, and intimately familiar with my rituals, you would know that i continually struggle with containers toppling over like dominoes when i reach for, or replace any one of my personal care products. it is quite comical, actually, to see me holding my pump-style toothpaste container in one hand, and attempting to catch two or three other containers that have just tipped over because i struck my deodorant with the electric toothbrush i was just trying to put back in it’s proper spot.
yes, i have tried many different arrangements of containers; smaller ones in the front, or to the left or right outer edges, most used in the front, less used in the back. none of the iterations seem to resolve my clumsiness.
ratcheting up the fun factor, our bathroom trash can just happens to be right below my corner of the medicine cabinet. a trash can made of the most audibly amplifying plastic on the planet. the bang-crash-boom is the kind that pierces the eardrum with laser-like precision, and can be heard even by someone wearing noise cancelling headphones … standing outside. the container’s fall is deadly accurate each time, no matter where one places the trash can, or where the container falls from. if i am not able to block it from falling, somehow it finds the trash can.
ok, so back to yesterday morning. i was replacing my blade razor, which is stored just to the right of an empty mouthwash bottle (it’s a smaller sized bottle that i use for travel, and needs to be refilled). and while i managed to sneak the razor by the deodorant, it brushed the corner of the mouthwash bottle. which rocked first back, then forward and started a chain reaction that ultimately tipped the deodorant stick over onto the after shave bottle, which i barely saved from falling into the … trash can.
i put everything back, as i normally do. but this time, for whatever reason , i took specific note of how light the empty mouthwash bottle was. and how unlikely it seemed that this bottle would be able to topple the heavier deodorant stick. instantly, this innocent event became an illustration of my life recently. i resemble empty because i have allowed my frenetic and stressful schedule to all but completely crowd out the solitary time i spend with God. and the empty container that i have become is at the root of a domino-effect in multiple areas of my life. obviously an empty container still brings sufficient “weight” to bear, and is capable of toppling over other, more seemingly weighted things. i am certain that the physics of the toppling containers has less to do with “weight”, but i was instantly aware of the weight and impact of my empty self.
the hope i feel today, is that Jesus stands in my place in this illustration and has caught my falling containers. and is beginning to put them back upright and in their place.
being careful not to draw out this illustration past its usefulness, i will close with a request for your prayer. i begin the season of lent today with a return to my solitary time with God, and a singular focus on becoming more sensitive to sin in my life. sin seems so easy to casually move on from, or outright dismiss. and i believe that it is directly related to my empty. i’ll be meditating on scripture daily, and tuning my ear and heart to what God has for me. and i covet your prayers whenever, and however the Spirit leads.