The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

While packing

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suitcases.jpgI hate to pack. Hate it badly enough that I get the jitters when packing time comes around.

So we’re on vacation in Minnesota. After a week at the cabin, it’s time to go home. Pack-up and clean-up day. Jitters day.

Perhaps I’m jittery because I’ve often done poorly at interacting with the people I love while packing. And perhaps I’ve often done poorly at loving them then because I’m overwhelmed by the task. (I’m supposed to figure out what to wear next week? You want to get home with even numbers of shoes? Honestly, now, isn’t this a little perfectionistic?)

Sure enough, the jitters – bats from hell – rush my heart. I sit down on the deck. I write. I pray. I sit. I try to get a photo of a hummingbird that zips by (oops). But the bat-flapping slows, just a bit.

So I get up. Still nervous, but not so overwhelmed. And then, out of the blue, there it is:

It’s about serving, not about packing.

Oho, what’s this? Now here’s God talking (it seems) to me: a cross-it-off-the-list-as-fast-as-possible type. But if it’s about serving, finishing the pack-up and clean-up loses its panic.

For instance (if it’s about serving) it doesn’t matter if others are ready to go when I’m ready – for I’m ready not when the packing is done, but when the serving is done. And, it doesn’t really matter if the clean-up is done to my specs (some would argue I don’t have specs) – for the job is finished not when I am satisfied, but when those whom I serve are. And it doesn’t matter much which job I do, for the job isn’t the job – the job is serving. Theoretically (though this one is a little out of reach for me so far) it doesn’t even matter if the kids don’t quite get it. How would they learn to serve, but by seeing a model of it (who, me, Lord?)

Huh. This actually turns into a pretty enjoyable morning. I can wrap it up and give it to my wife (maybe even to God), and we start our trip rather satisfied and in tune with each other. Maybe even happy.
Amazing. How many years did it take?

But who would expect to find joy in the midst of a hated task, and love in what has often wedged us apart?

Ah. God, you are good. I need you so much.

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Written by Monte

July 31, 2006 at 6:26 pm

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