For the past several weeks I’ve taken to beginning my day on our porch. I watch the sun rise, listen as the birds’ songs slowly exceed the night insects’ chirping, and watch people drive off to work. Mornings are always very humid, so sometimes I pretend I’m lounging on the beach of a tropical island. But my paradise is invariably ruined.
I’ve been studying a particular topic quite a lot this summer, and I’m planning to share in a series of posts this fall what I’ve unearthed. Today I’d planned to post about something I’d previously read in the book of Acts, and I will eventually get to it.
Instead, I’ll write about a situation, a particular lady, here in the small town where I live. I’ll mention her again in the fall series, because her condition definitely fits what I’ve been mulling over.
Like Christopher Reeve’s in Somewhere in Time, my morning porch trance is broken not by a 1970s coin but a lawnmower and subsequent leaf blower. I’ve tweeted about the woman several houses down who awakens at dawn to tackle her lawn work. But this isn’t once or twice a week. No, this woman mows her lawn every day.
Even before it’s light out, she’ll have cranked up the mower and set out cutting her rather small lawn. She must have a lamp on her mower like on a vacuum. There’s also a narrow strip of grass between the road and the sidewalk that she’ll mow at least two houses in either direction. After mowing, she’ll blow the grass clippings away from her house into the street. There’s usually not much. How much could there be from a day’s growth?
I used to hear this lady every day from my living room, but I can see her now from the porch. And my heart aches for her. I’d heard of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and after looking it up on WebMD.com, I’m convinced she suffers from it.
See, hers looks like a dollhouse—standing out like a tulip amid a field of weeds. To some driving by unaware of her morning ritual, her small house is stunning. But to me it’s revolting. Now, I am diagnosing from afar—I haven’t met her, though I’ve seen the determination on her face, the anxiety—but her obsession with an immaculate home is driven by some kind of fear. To me, her dollhouse looks like a prison.
I’ll write in the fall series how this all relates to what I’ve been studying. For now, consider this: As Christians we are called to tell of the good news that heaven is permeating earth, that one day God will put everything back how he intended it. In what we do and say and think and in our relationships, we have the opportunity to reveal heaven, God’s Kingdom. But even then, God is ultimately responsible. We cannot fix everything, but God can. And one day he will.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” —Revelation 21:3-5 ESV