Wednesday, April 20, 2016
So, I would like to share an amazing God moment.
We have been in the middle of a kitchen remodel. The construction crew got through their part of it in record time. We lived out of the living/dining room and did dishes in the upstairs bath tub for about six weeks, and in that time they -- presto-change-o -- converted our gutted kitchen-dining area into a thing of beauty.
The rest is on us now: the painting, moldings, carpet, rehanging of doors. They did the hard part; we do the easy part. That's the idea of it anyway. Somehow it doesn't work that way in our family.
Several weeks after we had moved into our new kitchen, the old refrigerator still waited patiently in the living/dining room.
The week before Easter, Ivy and I wrestled it out of the living room into the family room so we could extend the table for Easter dinner. We attempted to shove it into the garage, only to learn the hard way that it was wider in every dimension than the various interior doorways it would have to navigate in order to get there. It would have fit through the front door, but that would have meant our being responsible, in full view of the neighbors, for its descent down one step onto the front porch, and then down another step onto the sidewalk. If we had been able to get it anywhere near the interior door to the garage, we would still have had to grapple with a couple steps. But the outer garage door would have been closed, keeping the indignity of the maneuver private. Because believe me, if we could have gotten it there, getting it down those steps would have been undignified.
So into the family room it went. And there it has stayed since Easter.
Mind you, the refrigerator is not responsible for our decorating stagnation. Pure indecision on every front has assaulted us when it comes to not only paint color, but also who to hire to do the finishing work. Besides being indecisive by nature, I am also aesthetically insecure. Every time I choose a color, someone comes along with an opposing opinion and completely derails my resolve. On top of that, we're in a quandary over which friend or family member to give the work to.
The other morning the weight of this renovation paralysis woke me from a sound sleep at approximately 4:52 a.m. My Bible study gals were coming over the next night, and I was determined that if nothing more could be done, at the very least, I was getting that refrigerator out of the family room.
Having already learned I couldn't get it through the interior door into the garage, I was left with contemplating other creative means to get it either into the basement or through the front door. Necessity is the mother of invention, right? I had hours before the sun rose to focus my prodigious creative powers on the problem.
After some consideration, I decided that sliding it down the basement steps on its side sounded like a promising prospect. I would flatten one of the large moving boxes from the garage to put under the fridge for a toboggan-like effect. Just to be sure I wasn't being reckless, I googled, "Does it hurt a refrigerator to be moved on its side."
Turns out the answer to that is, "Quite possibly. In fact, probably. But not necessarily," which was good enough for me. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I got out of bed and did some measuring though, only to learn that, again, unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), it was too wide in every dimension to fit through the basement door too.
On to the next idea -- a more conventional approach this time. I decided I would go to Home Depot and rent something called an "appliance dolly." Who knew such things existed?!? But it sounded promising. I would rent one that day and bulldoze that refrigerator through the front door on those rented wheels even if I ended up widening the front door in the process.
But first things first. A quiet time. I sat in front of my computer to pray (I pray best with my fingers). I prayed from the heart. Whine. Whine, whine, whine. I found a hundred things to whine to God about, and I hadn't even gotten to the part about the marooned refrigerator. But finally I did. I typed (and this is cut-n-pasted directly from my quiet time journal),
"But especially, Father, I’m upset that I can’t make any progress. I can’t get the refriger..."
The word was not even off my fingers when my cell phone went "ding!" A text message from my friend. Her text read, "Are you up? Can you talk?"
Hello? It was 7:32 a.m.! Not only that, I was crabby. I was really, really crabby. And who the heck calls a friend at 7:30 in the morning???? But I thought to myself, Well, I'm going to have to talk to her eventually; it may as well be now. So I called her.
Never one for 'hellos,' she greeted me with HI, FRIEND!!! ARE YOU HAPPY? (My friend is a morning person.)
I responded truthfully. "No, I'm not. I'm crabby." And I told her my refrigerator trouble.
She said, "No, no, no! You're not going to go rent a dolly! Herb [her husband] has a dolly and he does that kind of thing all the time. As soon as he gets up, we're coming over and Herb will move the refrigerator for you."
Wow. I was blown away. Father, I thought, You are amazing! I hadn't even asked You yet for help. At the rate I was going, I may not have even been wise enough to ask for help at all. I was just fixing to go on whining for a good while, but there You were, answering before the word was even off my lips -- or in this case, my fingers.
So Herb and my friend appeared at my door around 10:30. Herb moved our defunct oven from the garage to the curb for trash pick-up, which was another less pressing problem I had. And then he tackled the monster refrigerator. He got it onto the dolly and began to maneuver it through the foyer, guiding it somewhat blindly, working to avoid damaging any walls and corners. I was in the foyer propping open the storm door. The refrigerator blocked my view of the garage door, but suddenly I heard a man's voice calling, "Oliver!" Someone who knew our dog, Oliver, had come into the house through the garage door. My friend introduced herself to him, but I could not for the life of me imagine who it could be.
Turns out it was Mike, the carpenter who had spent weeks at our house installing our new kitchen cabinets and doing some finishing work. He had been working down the street at our neighbor's house for the past few weeks, and chose this moment to walk on down to say hello again to our dog, with whom he had developed a close friendship.
He chose this moment. Out of all the weeks he had been just down the street, he chose this moment to come on by. The very moment Herb was about to realize that he needed another man to help him navigate this refrigerator through the front door and down the steps. The very moment that refrigerator would have crashed to the ground unless Mike had been there to help catch it.
Does God care about the mundane difficulties of my life? What do you think?
What a faithful and powerful and kind God we serve!
Although it does make me wonder if my toboggan idea had God a little alarmed too.