Monday, August 29, 2011
I am becoming "one of them."
We have lived in our current house now for 7 years this past July. Ever since we have been here, there has been a man down the highway whose house I drive by almost daily. This guy is always out in his garage...fixing things, building things, rummaging through his heaps of stuff....and just being busy. I have never talked to him. But have now gotten in the habit of always looking over at him in his garage when I am driving by to see what he is up to that particular day.
So lately, as I have started this painting adventure, I have noticed my neighbors doing the same thing with me. Whether they are driving, walking, or riding a bike, I often get a smile or a wave, or sometimes just a stare. Most of the time I am full of paint, wearing my typical cut off jeans and old t-shirt, and by 4 PM it is safe to say my hair is twice the size it was when I tried to calm it down earlier that morning. Which reminded me of the man in his garage. He has big, fuzzy hair too. Hmmm.
So I decided to sell an old antique stained glass window I had on Craigslist. The young woman that wanted it got her days mixed up and her and her boyfriend came a day early. As they pulled in the driveway in their shiny red car, I glanced a quick look in the mirror, shrugged my shoulders and rolled my eyes, and went outside to greet them.
They were a sweet young couple. Cute, dressed nice, and I think I could even smell the young man's after shave. I apologized for the strewn toys all over the garage and porch, as I stood in front of a big pile of old furniture waiting to be rescued. I straightened my dirty painters shirt a bit as I showed them the window which they loved immediately and not less than 5 minutes later, were pulling out of the driveway with.
I tried striking up some fun conversation with the couple, though...asking them about what they planned to do with the window, telling them a little about it...but it was clear they were just wanting a quick transaction. Talking to an older lady with Thrift Shop soot on her clothes and paint marks in her big hair wasn't a priority. I couldn't help but laugh to myself as I held the 50 dollars in my hand while they drove away. And I thought of that man in his garage.
The next morning while driving Alison to soccer practice, I came across another garage sale sign pointing me in it's direction. I looked back at Belle, her hair wasn't combed yet, and because we were running late I wound up putting her in the car with just a diaper and tank top on, and her dirty pink Nikes were on the wrong feet.
So there I was with Miss Belle, walking around this garage sale, and again, I couldn't help but laugh in my conviction. I was that mom with the disheveled toddler. I was the person I used to shake my head at.
I think pushing 40, and having a better grasp on the Gospel than I have had in the past, has caused me to realize how much I don't have it together. How I never really will. How that's okay! Because I serve a God who does have it all together...and who knows how weak I am.
My filthy shirt, messy hair, overstuffed garage, and little girl with shoes on the wrong feet are all just outward things that point to the fact that I really AM that needy. I am that strange man in his garage. Always busy, dirty, maybe even too focused on things in there that don't really matter all too much. Yet, I can have hope. Because ultimately, that isn't my identity anyway. I can rest in my mess, knowing I am accepted.
One day I was driving home from a Thrift Shop stop. I had a truck load of old, ugly, dirty furniture. But all I saw as I glanced back at what was someone else's trash, was beautiful, fresh, valuable treasure. I had a great vision for every one of those items. I saw what all of it would look like restored. And it gave me a lot of joy.
I had a small glimpse into what God sees in His children because of Christ.
Beauty from the ash heap.
So I guess it is safe to say, I am becoming 'one of them'...like the dirty old man busy in his garage with all of his projects....the mom who has the haphazardly dressed kids. It's probably safer to say I am not becoming one of them. I have just realized more and more I always WAS one of them. But God loves rescuing the ugly, the filthy, and making them beautiful for His glory.
And every trip home from Thrift Shop reminds me of that.