Try cooking for an army of guests over the weekend while pretending nothing unusual is happening. It’s not terribly unusual for us to have a few extras, but we don’t really plan for them. “What’s with all the baking?” Josiah demanded. “I’m just in a baking mood,” Mom answered, shrugging. I smirked, unable to recall her ever being in a baking mood that left the whole kitchen covered in layers of flour, sugar and eggs and included monster casseroles. When the white minivan finally pulled up outside Thursday afternoon and the Willises spilled out, only Lydia was flabbergasted.
Four sleeping bags sprawling out across my bedroom floor, various and sundry pillows scattered abroad, soggy towels and wash cloths hanging limply in the bathroom, piles of clothing, books, Bibles and what-not spilling out of backpacks and shoes lying neglected at every doorway sent my pulse sky-rocketing. Messes don’t bother me terribly, as long as I’m busy, but the laundry room was torn apart, preventing me from fulfilling my Friday duty, supper was already thawing on the kitchen counter and I’d already vacuumed the house—what of it wasn’t occupied. I hardly felt like I deserved a “break” when Josiah proposed a rollicking game of military tactics. Besides, how am I supposed to enjoy playing when there are messes tripping me up every time I sneak in or out a house door? I completely missed the fact that the worst mess of the day was my attitude.
I finally found my purpose in life, after lunch, playing the mole for Miss Master Electrician Tabitha as she wired in a two-forty breaker for the convection oven/electric stove we brought from Kansas. “It’s actually pretty roomy underneath your house,” she informed me through the crackling walkie-talkies as I crawled through the entrance to the brief world underneath the house. As long as I kept my head between the floor joists, I could actually sit upright to push the thick wire through the hole she’d drilled. I heard her crinkling along the shreds of plastic as she came to check my work and switched off my flashlight, scrambling to lie across her pathway. “Abigail?” she called out through the darkness, her voice hesitant. “I need some light.” She continued at a slower pace. Hoping she’d crawl across me and scream, I held my breath and kept my head low. She must have lost her bearings and gone off crooked. “Abigail, where are you?” she demanded and bumped right into a cinderblock house support. Were I given to exaggeration, I’d insist the whole house shook. From the other side of the blocks, I started giggling and apologizing and flicked on my flashlight to see her rubbing her head and snickering. “I’ll thrash you later.” Willowy as she is, I’ve no doubt she can.
Shuttling a dozen people through showers left the poor well tired and confused and in need of rejuvenation several times. At last we all gathered, with the Tech students who’d come, for some singing and fellowship. At least, we tried to sing through our itchy-with-insulation or sawdust or catacomb grime voices. Inspired by one of the scripture songs, the guys dug out doxologies from scripture—praise for Yahweh and His glory.
In every moment, in every tiny piece of creation, Yahweh reveals Himself and part of His character. As I sat alone in the dark, listening to Tabitha drilling holes above my head, the beam from my LED illuminated dozens of dust particles and set them glowing like tiny stars. Fascinated, I watched them dance and flicker, moving through the darkness as beacons—not so different from the stars Yahweh flung abroad in the expanse above the earth, made of dust, yet glowing with His light. And not so different from me and the believers around me, from dust we came and to dust we will return. Yet Yahweh has shown His light abroad, illuminating us, making us beautiful through His glory, to reflect the light of His Son.
Lord, Thou art the light that shines,
Illuminating hearts and minds,
Teaches us to sing the praise
Of God, the Ancient One of days,
That gives to flesh a heart of trust,
Lends light and beauty e’en to dust
And calls a fallen man Thy friend.
To Thee alone be praise. Amen!