Saturday, August 20, 2016

Baseboards, Wooden Floors, and Bucking Buffers

If there's any blame for the whole affair, I'm assigning it to my friends. At a recent visit to their home, I couldn't help but notice their sparkling white baseboards and shiny wooden floors. Even though those lovely floors were shining (at least in part) because of polyurethane, my rarely-waxed floors were a sad comparison.

I didn't covet their floors, but they made me take a closer look at my own. 

The next day, I squatted down to inspect my own baseboards as I walked out the side door. I'm a little ashamed to tell this, but I thought the paint had chipped off in places. From my squatted position, I could tell that chipping paint was not the problem. It was dirt.

I hated the way my baseboards looked.

The only sensible thing to do was to make a change.

I grabbed bleach, an old toothbrush, and a rag and went to work. Before long, I had clean baseboards, too.

While I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the baseboards, I got an up-close-and-personal view of my floors. The wax, applied too long ago to remember when, was long gone. The floors looked dull and worn. 

I hated the way my floors looked.

The only sensible thing to do was make a change.

I swept, mopped, added a bit of stain, waxed, and waxed again. Sam's always helped me with the waxing and buffing, so he decided to use an old t-shirt to help me buff the wax. It didn't make a bit of difference. 

I needed an electric buffer.

Yesterday, I rented one. My vision of a two-hour job was quickly shattered by reality. I turned on the buffer and held on tight, just like the man at the store said. 

It slung me nearly into the wall. I let go. 

I refuse to be defeated by a machine, even one that weighs nearly as much as I do, so I grabbed hold again. Turned it on, went a few feet, lost control, got slung, let go. This went on for hours. 

Finally, I heard a loud boom from outside and the bucking bronco I'd been fighting went dead. A fuse had blown out on the electric line at the street. After I called the electric company and thanked God for the break in the action, I went to the garden to do a few chores.

As I rounded the greenhouse, eyes focused on the taller-than-my-head Johnson grass in the landscaping, my left foot slipped into a hole. I'm not quite sure how this happened, but I slid in nearly to my knee and my foot wedged into the bottom of the hole. 

With one foot trapped in the depths of the earth, I was thrown off balance and fell to my knees. It was no easy task to get myself upright again, but I managed it. My foot, however, was caught tight. 

I pulled up to no avail. I wiggled my leg and tried to slip my foot out of my tennis shoe. Nothing worked. I considered calling The Hired Hand for an emergency extraction, but I knew I'd never hear the end of it if I did. I thought about calling Sam, but I knew he wasn't strong enough to pull me out.

Finally, I did the only sensible thing. I begged God to help me, and He did. After another tremendous jerk with my leg that landed me on my backside, my foot popped out.

I limped back to the house. Since my shoes were now muddy from the hole, I took them off before I went inside to rub my sore shin and wait on the electric company.

Once the power was restored, I cranked it up again, this time in my socks. Without the traction of my shoes, the bucking buffer had free reign. Every time it changed directions, I slid like a puck on the ice. I held on tight to the handles, which made the machine go even faster. 

The sliding worsened. 

It slung me back and forth until I despaired of finishing the job.

By this time, the Hired Hand had come in. He and Sam watched the crazed action for a while. They laughed until their faces turned red and they had tears in their eyes. 

"What do you call that dance? Electric slide meets Watusi?" 

I suggested they take over if they didn't like my technique, but both men assured me they were having too much fun watching. 

"We don't want to rob you of your fun."

I've had fun before, but it wasn't while doing the Watusi with a buffer.

After six straight hours (that's not an exaggeration), I was ready to collapse. Sam was, too.  

"We could finish tomorrow," I suggested, hopeful.

"No. We aren't stopping until we're done." 

"That's easy to say, Sam. You aren't the one getting tossed around like a rag."

"We're not stopping till we're done." Sam was too tired to say more.

I kept going.

Seven hours and ten minutes of labor after I first started buffing, I finally reached a stopping point. My floors look much better. My baseboards are (mostly) clean again. All because I stopped long enough to compare my floors with floors that were already clean.

When we stop long enough to compare our lives with one that's "already clean", it can spur us to make change, as well. Sometimes, the lives of other believers can push us to a new action, a different attitude, a closer walk.

If we want a gold-standard comparison, though, we need to compare ourselves to Jesus. Our God-man lived as we lived, felt as we felt, hurt as we hurt, yet never sinned. 

When I compare my heart to His, I hate the way my heart looks. The only sensible response is for me to make a change. 

Today, let's compare our lives to Jesus. Are we faithful as He is faithful? Are our lives holy as He is holy? 

If not, there's only one sensible thing to do. Make a change.

Let's invite Him to clean what needs to be cleaned, buff what needs to be shined, change what needs to be changed. Let's let Him do what needs to be done so that we can be the shining picture of righteousness to those who see our lives.

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." Psalm 51:10 nasb
In case you missed yesterday's post, here's the link: A Week's Worth of Missionary-ness
Here's a link to the prayer guide: The Prayer List
Here's the link to my Global Outreach page: Leanna Hollis 
Here's the link to the post about helping Louisiana: Loving Louisiana