Monday, March 28, 2011

Chariots of Fire and Dirty Socks

Have you ever seen the movie, Chariots of Fire?

I think i was five when it was in the movie theater.  I remember this because my parents took me to a matinee.  It was a very exciting occasion for the little me.  It was my first movie ever.  I slept through Chariots of Fire and then i woke up to see Bambi, after which i swore, in tears, to never see another movie as long as i lived!  If going to the movies meant that some mean hunter was going to shoot Bambi's dad for no good reason, then movies just weren't living up to all the hype.  I wailed, my parents comforted me and assured me that i didn't have to watch any more horrible movies, and i remember my dad commenting on how Hollywood was giving hunters a bad rap.

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Chariots of Fire, which i eventually did see, many moons later, depicts the true story of a man who was a very fast runner, in some year long before my birth.  He was the son of a family of missionaries, if remember correctly, and his sister was criticizing all his time spent training for a silly race.  The man's response was, "when i run, i feel HIS pleasure."  He couldn't give his family a philosophical reason for his spending all this time training for a race, running instead of spending his energy making his way to some unreached people group in the jungle.  He only knew that when he ran, he felt the pleasure of God.

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When i was in college, i briefly worked with a young woman - another student, whose work study job was in the custodial department.  Our job was to clean the dormitory buildings, including the dormitory hallways and the community bathrooms.  We vacuumed and mopped and  . . .  as i said, cleaned the bathrooms.  It didn't take me long to find a work study position that didn't require rubber gloves, but i have never forgotten this young woman who truly found pleasure in cleaning up after her fellow students.  She never came to work grumpy.  She never showed any displeasure.  She smiled the most beautiful smile, with mop in hand, and said that she really enjoyed her job.

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Several years ago . . . i don't remember how many, but it was earlier than the other day . . .  when we lived in our little apartment in the city, i remember one day when i was preparing to do laundry.  I was collecting dirty socks that had been left at various stations on the floor--invariably inside-out--and pushing my hand into the dirty, sweaty, worn-by-a-manual-laborer-in-the-Texas-summer-heat, socks, to turn them right side out, when i heard something that stamped an indelible impression on my heart.  I heard God say -- it wasn't out loud, but it may well have been -- that it gave Him pleasure to see me pick up my husband's dirty socks.  I knew it was HIM.  I certainly would not have come up with such a thing.  But i felt His pleasure when He said it.  

Since then, i kind of look forward to picking up dirty socks.  And if i do it with a bad attitude, i am reminded that it gives God pleasure when i serve my husband.  When i wash the dishes or do his laundry or sweep the floor, or whatever i do with a humble heart, i know it gives God pleasure.  

Now i understand the fellow in Chariots of Fire and the beautiful woman who cleaned the bathrooms, whose names i can't remember, but both of whom made an impression on my life.  When you feel God's pleasure . . . well, there's just nothing better than that, no matter what you're doing.

4 comments:

  1. When I am teaching (or was, for this time and place), I always said that I could feel God smiling. I knew that I knew I was doing what He called me to do.

    For right now, though, I'll take your words and clean the house for my family... without grumbling, and all for His pleasure.

    Thanks for sharing. =)

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  2. Today when I go out marketing my husbands new business, I will do it with a newfound pleasure of serving him (& HIM). Thanks Beth.

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  3. It's good to know I contributed in some way to your spiritual enrichment.-Jme

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