Monday, May 16, 2011

Bleach



I had some mysterious stains on a few bibs and dish towels. The first bib where I found these mysterious stains, I put straight bleach on, and then let it sit until I was ready to do a white load, and the bleach proceeded to eat holes in the fabric. Luckily, the lettering stayed in tact to say, "my daddy's a cardiologist." But now I feel bad every time I put the bib on David, because it has holes in it. I can't bring myself to throw it out, unless maybe I replace it one day. If we wear it out of the house now, it might as well say, "my daddy's a cardiologist and my mommy can't wash my laundry."

Let's not do that again. So I tried again with some more bibs and dishtowels. I put them in a bucket of water, with some bleach added. (The stains were not that mysterious, they were moldy stains.) Grown from neglect and moisture, buried in either a bag, the bottom of the stroller, the car, or the bottom of a hamper. My first bib goes into the bleach-water, give it a minute, and voila! Beautiful, non-moldy cute bib, and the ducky is still yellow, with no holes. Next, dishtowel - again! success. This is usually when I should stop and go on to something else. But no, I am on a roll. I collect 2 more dishtowels, and 2 other bibs in new water with bleach. Well, these I left in a little too long. The dark brown monkey has some burnt sienna blotches across his face, and the green dish towel is a hazy sun-ray color. No holes though! The mold has graciously been killed on all articles. That was the goal, and I give an "oh well" to the discolored monkey and hazy yellow towel.

I cannot let my imagery pass me by. I need some serious cleaning. For some reason, I think that the Lord washing me clean is going to burn holes in my personality. It's going to take away the 'me' that makes me- 'me.' My favorite part about me may be my bright green color, my richly colored monkey face, my moldy spot that I think is a wonderful beauty mark. Prior to my conviction that I am actually sinning, I am always grabbing onto something that I am good at.

I am a visionary. I can't exactly execute my visions, but I can see what needs to be done, and usually recognize all of the moving parts at a glance. Mike is graduating next year from a Cardiology Fellowship. This means, that after 13 years of elementary and high school, 7 years of undergrad and med school, 7 years of residency and fellowship, he will be graduating to become an Attending. This title would be Electrophysiology Cardiologist. Every syllable gets about 2 years of training, is what I see.

Well, I have a sense of urgency, being able to see the steps we need to accomplish to get the house ready for sale or rent, researching where and what is actually available, listing our priorities for life, listing his priorities for a job, updating his CV, etc. The list goes on and on. This brings us to three Saturdays ago, when I was going to attend my good friend's baby shower. I went, I had a wonderful time, and I came home. I was really looking forward to having the evening with the family at home. Before I left for the shower, I left a little list on the dining room table. A list of 8 Ten-minute jobs, and a list of 4 Thirty-minute jobs to get done this weekend. I didn't mention the note, just left it casually on the table.

Driving home, I was picturing the bookcase lovingly put together in the dining room, and picking out which books and pictures I was going to place on it with all the new found space. Then the basement shelving was put together and we put out all of the kitchen gadgets spread out beautifully, with a space for everything. Since David is now crawling, I pictured the vacuumed living room tidy, and was sure that the pile of medical journals was sifted through, memorized, and recycled. We then ate a peaceful family dinner outside in the setting sunshine, and had the kids in bed by 8. As we played our game, Mike won and was in a wonderful mood as we retired for the night.

*slam on the brakes and almost miss my turn*

I walked towards the house to the smell of delicious barbecue chicken cooking on the grill. I walked into the house to find the computer wire draped across the dining room floor with piles of journals burying the strategically placed list I had made, a pit in my stomach when i saw the bookshelf was still in the box, among other things that didn't match up to my dreamy expectations. I was hit with thoughts such as, 'I can see exactly what needs to be done. I am gifted in being able to picture all of the inner workings that we need to accomplish in order to approach the rest of the year with order. I am really just trying to help Mike.'

We then ate outside, and Mike, realizing I was totally disappointed and upset was being so kind to me. The food did not taste good to me, and I had lost my appetite. Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.- Proverbs 17:1 I tried to say, 'You know lovie, I feel like I am caught between wanting you to have time to yourself to relax, and wanting to communicate, with urgency, things that actually need to get done." Super humility right there. Well, not really. I didn't even know what I was saying. Apparently I looked awful, since I am in the beginning of weaning off a pretty powerful steroid, and this was essentially the 6 or 7th day in a row where I was trying to do beyond my capacity. Then, Mike even said, "You just look awful." He had me go lay down while he put the kids to bed. Regardless of my physical condition, when your spirit has a big moldy patch blocking the light trying to shine through your eyes, in our house we call that, "awful."

After a smooth bedtime, he came in the room and was ready to go clean up after dinner so I could rest. I, again trying to serve him, had offered to play our game together. I didn't want him to have to work tonight, especially after how I threw him for a loop when I hit him with all these unfulfilled expectations that I had for him. "Let's just play our game." So we played. After a few minutes, I felt a wallowing up of love for him. I looked him right in the eye and said, "Sweetie, I just really love you. I'm so sorry that I came home and was in such a terrible mood, practically ruining the evening." To which he responded, "Does this mean you are going to play a really good card?!"

"WHAT? Am I really that shallow? I was pouring out a heartfelt love-song in words to you, and you think I am trying to prep you for losing because I happen to be good at this game? Okay, game on - now. You really think I am that shallow as to confess my love to you, only to prepare you for losing a stupid card game against me?"

This card game is not shallow to Mike. Winning is very important to him, and the fact that I called it shallow just drove us into a deep hole of discussion. All the events of the day were rehashed, the events of the next year were thrown about, and my heart was so bent on being right. I took that cute beauty mark (my awesome visionary skill) and just made it darker and darker, and tried to use waterproof makeup so it could not be wiped off. Then I made it bigger and added some shimmer to get it noticed a little more, and it apparently blinded our communication so much that we were now in a full fledged conflict.

Bring on the bleach, please. Get this thing off of me, and bleach it out of my life, Lord. Whatever kind of sin and defiance I am doing, in light of Your will for my life, please rub it down and dip me in the bleach water. Even if it means my color will fade, I accept, and trust You to cleanse me from within. Even if I become all burnt-sienna-splotchy like the monkey bib, I still accept to know that even one mold spore has been killed in Your name. I am not afraid about having holes burnt in me, because you are excellent and would not give me more than my fabric can handle, in You.

We talked for an hour or two and settled in with resolution and a clearer vision of what each of our visions were. That doesn't mean that I realized how off I was right away, a woman at church the next morning came up to me and had a word to give me. It was about "mercies are new every morning." She said something to the effect of -
We can't know the mercy that God has for us for the trial we are about to face or will face in the future, because it is not morning yet. At the dawn of the new trial the mercy will come, and then we will be able to deal. Today, we are actually looking at the trial without the mercy.

There I went, making all these plans and visions, stirring up anxiety all over the place without seeing the mercy at the forthcoming job search. Also, I was leaning on my own understanding. Mike and I talked again after church and got a lot done Sunday afternoon. We both came away from this little happenstance knowing a lot more about each other and of God's sovereignty in our lives.

Are you afraid of a little bleach? It's good thing I'm not doing your laundry!