This morning I headed downstairs to the laundry room to grab Charlie’s basketball clothes from the dryer. We were already running late (shocker), as he had to be at camp in half an hour, and it takes 20 minutes to get there. Still in his pjs, Charlie ate his scrambled eggs while I scrambled to get our morning off in the right direction.
As I descended the stairs to the basement, I delighted in how fresh it smelled. I took special notice of this, because usually it smells like kids. Not the sweet child smell of pink-lotioned babies, but the ‘off’ smell of tweens and teens. And recently, because of all of the rain, it has smelled of dirty wet socks and dirty wet clothes and dirty wet hair and dirty wet dog. So the fresh scent surprised but still delighted me. Until I opened the laundry room door…
Now I am well aware of basements flooding from heavy rains and dishwashers that go awry, but flooded by laundry detergent? That’s new to me. Well, at least I now know why it smelled so clean as I descended the stairs.
As I traipsed through the slippery goo all over the floor while simultaneously cursing it, thoughts were filling my head and (amid some choice words) I asked aloud,
UGH! How the blankety-blank did this happen?!
What on earth?!
How could this be?
What did I do wrong?
I just don’t understand!
Tip-toeing through the slippery mess, I made my way to the back wall and discovered the gazillion-gallon jug of Arm & Hammer on the floor. I had just purchased this new container, of course, and now 2/3 of it was coating the floor and would never see the inside of my washing machine.
There it lay sideways, with its little spout still neatly protected by the measuring cup that I intentionally place back over it after each use… TO AVOID ANY TINY LITTLE DROPS OF SPILLAGE. I was still questioning how this could have happened, when I notice the screw cap from the top is missing. And then I found it back behind the dryer, broken from its midnight death plunge from the top of the dryer.
I shook my head at the irony of it all. The absurdity. That here I was, trying after each load went into the washer, to replace the plastic cup over the spout so that little droplets of detergent wouldn’t drip their way down the dryer onto my floor. I am a messy person (another shocker), yet recently I have been trying to keep a tidier laundry room. And this little cap was now mocking me and my best intentions.
I know this will come off as quite the far-fetched analogy (bear with me), but nevertheless, the parallel suddenly dawned on me…
In our lives, we can try as hard as we can to do the right things, eat the right things, protect our children, you name it. But still some things (most things) are completely out of our control. We cry out and ask the exact questions I asked above. I will never know how in the heck the gazillion-gallon tub of detergent leapt off my dryer. It was not in the least bit teetering off of it when I turned the lights out last night. And did it really HAVE to land precisely on the cap, shattering it, and then fall over onto its side, at first gushing out and then most likely moving to a slow leak onto my floor throughout the night? So much for trying to protect little droplets from dripping from the spout. This was a full out flood.
But there’s more to this lesson than about us not having control and questioning why things happen despite our best efforts. As I looked at the spill, the phrase “lavishly poured out” entered my mind. This goo before me was not the lavish pouring out that I really needed at the moment (!), but this verse from Ephesians was:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,…to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that HE LAVISHED ON US. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will…”.
Freely given. Riches of God’s grace. Lavished on us.
Okay, so I get it. We are broken little caps. Unexpected things happen to us in life… even when we diligently try to prevent those things by securing protective walls around us. Yet when the cap breaks, when we break, God will continue to freely pour out His lavish love upon us. “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1) It’s a love that heals, cures, gives hope, and purifies us for a lifetime with Him. Which is quite ironic, since the logo on the jug of Arm & Hammer clearly reads: THE STANDARD OF PURITY.
I ended up getting Charlie’s clothes out of the dryer, and despite this little lavish interruption, I managed to deliver him to basketball camp at 8:30am on the dot. He wasn’t clean, but he sure did smell clean; his shorts grazed the flooded floor as I got them out of the dryer.
As I was driving back home, dreading the slave I would soon become to my laundry room (after first writing this post, of course), I remembered what was written on our chalk wall, waiting to greet me upon my return. I had even posted it on Facebook a few days ago. Oh, the irony. Again.
Well, I can’t put it off any longer, so I suppose I’ll get the mop and towels and head on downstairs. It could have been worse. Because by now, haven’t we all learned that ‘it can always be worse’?