Philippians 4:8, KJV: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any praise, think on these things.”
I hit a bit of a pandemic wall this week. I completely ‘get’ the ‘why’ of our stay-at-home orders but this extrovert is chafing at the restrictions.
On Monday we discovered that the toilet in our main bathroom was leaking and I had to find a plumber to come and fix it. The first plumber I called said that yes, they could come but not until Tuesday. I figured that since we had a second bathroom this would not be that big of a problem and so I agreed.
Now, you all remember that I have a Chronic pain issue that means that sometimes my mobility is a little iffy. Like a lot of people my age, I’m also, well, up and down a whole lot during the night but now, instead of the bathroom being just a few steps away from my bedroom it was now down two flights of stairs to our basement and back up again. By my 3rd or so trip downstairs I was so Done with this – it hurt – it woke me up and I was resentful.
Yesterday, Tuesday, we were all set to welcome the plumbers into our bubble when they called and said that they had a ‘really big job’ and couldn’t get to us like they had planned.
Then it was a little like all plumbing in our household decided it would act up in sympathy to the upstairs toilet. I had to unclog the drain in the kitchen. I had to replace the chain in the downstairs bathroom. True they were all very tiny little things and I managed them just fine but it felt like a conspiracy.
A plumbing conspiracy.
Then when I went to go work on my sermon I just had nothing. Nothing that felt like Good News. All of my life felt restricted and painful. My social interactions are by Zoom. Worship is me by myself and we can’t have music. I can’t think of any more meals that are interesting, inexpensive and tasty. We only have one bathroom that is two flights away and, I’m. Just. Tired. Of. It All.
I tried to take a nap – no go. I moaned and complained to my family. That didn’t help either. It frankly wasn’t until the middle of the night last night that I finally got a grip and realized –
That I had focused all of my thinking on the wrong things. I was focused on the restrictions. The things I’m lacking. The stuff that is no longer convenient. The ‘lies’, the ‘contaminated’, the ‘ugly’, the ‘bad news’ and the ‘judgement’; instead of the ‘Truth, the Pure, the Lovely, the Good Report and the Praise. I was focused on the ‘Things of this world’ instead of the things of God.
And this vortex truly brought me down pretty low.
And here’s the thing. I have heard from many of you that you are spiraling in exactly this same vortex. It’s a pretty awful place to be, and will take a lot to get out of it. We know what we need to do. We know where we need to focus. So, please join me in this ‘thinking’ on the things of God. Count your blessings with me. Name them ‘one by one’ as the old hymn says. Because, really, its what we need to do.
So here’s a few of my blessings today. I’m sending you a picture of my working spot at home. I have taken over the dining room table and I have a comfy place to Zoom. Isn’t Zoom amazing! We can stay in touch but also stay safe. I have the gift of technology to get through this. I’m also sending you a picture of my kitchen. Yes, its dated, and I often feel like we don’t have nearly enough counter space or storage, but we have healthy food and huge abundance to share with each other. I’m also sending you a picture of my TV. Its really old – but we stream all sorts of interesting shows as a family and just are with each other. Hugh streams worship on Sunday to it. We ‘Facetime’ my oldest child using this technology (when I can figure out how to do it lol).
And this morning my toilet got fixed by two really nice guys who were quick and not judgey about my bathroom. (Aren’t you glad I didn’t send you a picture of the toilet!!)
Think on these things, my friends. And give me a call if you’re still struggling. We’re together in this.