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I have to share with you an experience that I had yesterday at the Laundromat. Experience is the word I use because when I was telling the story to my fourteen year old son, he said, "Mom, that's not really a story, but an experience."
Don't you love being corrected by your child? So much fun.
First, let me start by saying that we finally [finally!] got moved into our house. Whew. This has been a journey. A long one.
Anyway, remember how I told you about my over-sized laundry room? If you forgot, see post here.
It's bigger than my kitchen. I am not kidding. My kitchen is teeny tiny and this laundry room is ridiculous. Go figure.
As we began to settle in a bit last week, our washing machine decided she was ready to retire. RETIRE. After only about 4 good years of service. FOUR.
Who retires after four years? Well, she does I guess.
The repairman came to try to work on her, but she was going to be more costly to repair than replace. So, we have a new one on the way.
With that said, I have been without a washer for over a week. Make that going on two weeks. Yep.
I'm all about a laundry strike, don't get me wrong. But, things start to get smelly after a while. Know what I mean?
So, yesterday, instead of invading my sweet friend Kim's home, again, to do my laundry, I visited the local Laundromat, The Wash Rock. Catchy name, right?
I walk in with a not-so-great attitude and my four loads of laundry.
I felt like I was in a foreign land. I had no idea what to do. Which machine? There are so many!
As I stand there with my laundry spilling out of my baskets, I feel people staring. Ugh. My new organic deodorant apparently is not working, because I am sweating like an elephant under circus lights.
Finally, I meekly asked a lady how this works and which machine to use.
She gladly showed me the ropes. I could have hugged her right then and there. Except I was holding smelly laundry and my pits were sweating profusely.
I started my loads, and began to sit down to make my grocery list, catch up on emails, and write in my planner.
However, before I could even sit down, my first load was done. Whew. That was fast. A little too fast. I was kind of looking forward to some "down time".
It all went by so quickly! I now know why people use Laundromats. They are fast! You can also do many loads at one time. [Just be prepared to have a small fortune in quarters. Good grief.]
As I was folding up my last load, I noticed a young man. He looked very thin. And very frail.
He was no more than 25 years old.
He was having trouble getting his clothes out of the washer. He had used an older washer I guess to save money, but it left the clothes soaking wet. Almost like it had not used a spin cycle at all to drain the water.
As he took the clothes out of the washer, water was dripping everywhere. I could tell he was embarrassed. There were a lot of people around. A puddle was forming at his feet.
More than anything, I wanted to throw my laundry down and go and help him. I wanted to ask him if he had eaten, or if he needed clothes, or money for the dryer. I tried to think of a million scenarios to try to talk to him and offer to help. I prayed and asked God, "what can I do??"
The scripture that the Lord laid on my heart was this, "Be still."
I wanted so badly to give him something. To help in some way. Yet, I knew in my heart that wasn't my purpose. God wanted me to see this man. God wanted me to see, because often I don't see.
Often, I am at home in my own comfy house, using my own washing machine, and my own dryer.
Often, I have my face in my phone instead of noticing those around me.
Often, I am too busy thinking of my "wants" instead of the basic needs of others.
God wasn't trying to condemn me. No.
God was using conviction to cleanse my heart. To not just cleanse it, but to break it wide open.
I will never shake this experience. This man.
I don't know his name, but God does.
God tells us in Isaiah..."See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands". Isaiah 49:16
Since seeing this man, I have prayed for him fervently. Not because I think he desperately needs my prayers, but because I desperately need to remember him.
I need to remember this raw heart feeling.
Therefore, I will always remind you about these things--even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught. 2 Peter 1:12
It's not about a broken washing machine, but about a broken heart. A heart that notices others. A heart that decides to see instead of building a wall so tall around it that the view is blocked.
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40
We are surrounded by the least of these. Surrounded.
However, before we can "do", we must "see".
Our eyes have to be open, our hearts prepared for the mission he has for us each day.
We must be in alignment with the Lord each and every moment.
From the moment our eyes open, we need to ask Him to speak. To show. To teach. To convict.
Being in the will of God will always be about noticing and acting on the needs of others. Always.
We need to look no further than Jesus for this example. Nothing He did was for Himself. Jesus spent all of His days seeing, hearing, teaching, ministering, feeding, and loving others.
Not a minute was wasted.
Let's follow Jesus' example.
Starting today, let's open our eyes. Open our hearts to a world that needs the Love and Hope of Christ.
Who will you see today?
eyes wide open,