- My cleaning lady quit because I was a pain in the ass.
- My hair dryer died a violent death on Monday and I still haven't replaced it.
- I've had several bad hair days in a row.
- Upon noticing my increasingly gray hair, my son announced "wow, you really are old."
- I've caused trouble. Again.
- I have a zit on my forehead that could pass for a third eye.
- The neighbors have erected an ugly wire fence that I have to look at every time I pull in the driveway.
- My so-called friends figured out that I'm turning 44 tomorrow, when all this time I thought I was going to be 42 or 43, tops.
One of the things that makes my church, Media Presbyterian, so special is its commitment to our neighbors -- both around the corner and around the world. Our members have traveled to Chester and Philadelphia and to Ghana and Liberia to make a difference in communities that need a helping hand. Western North Carolina has long been our family summer mission trip with youth and parents working side by side and the little ones taking on their own small projects and learning what it means to share the love of God by serving others. This year, 72 of us are making the long trek to work on two Habitat for Humanity builds, address the needs of of a couple other home owners, and bring a bit of joy to children living in a homeless shelter.
To be honest, I haven't gone on this NC trip in several years. The drive is too long. I didn't want to "waste" the vacation time. It just wasn't convenient. But this year, even before the church was rocked by the resignation of our senior pastor, I felt called to join my church family in Banner Elk. And in light of the painful reality of what has transpired at MPC and the rebuilding that is taking place, I think this mission trip is exactly what we need. Again, it's about perspective. If we return to our foundation of serving others, we will be reminded of why the church exists in the first place. We can take the focus off ourselves and put it where it rightly belongs.
So I'm going to serve next week. And I guarantee that on Day One I'll be asking myself what the hell I was thinking driving down here to work for someone else when I don't even like to do that kind of work for myself. I'll be whining about the heat or a chipped nail (hey, I just stopped biting my nails, so breaking one is going to be a big deal). The lodge beds won't be comfortable and I won't like the food. Ian will get sick and want to go home (the precedent is there). But I guarantee that by Day Three (I'm leaving some wiggle room in there by not promising Day Two) I'll be weepy when I count my blessings. I'll be hugging members of my church family (and even my children, if they let me) and tearfully telling them how much they mean to me. I'll even have gotten over my irritation with how slowly Cathie drove on the trip down.
If you too are struggling with those day-to-day issues that drag us down, consider doing something for someone else. It doesn't have to require a nine hour drive, but it does require your head, heart and hands, which ultimately sets you free, at least temporarily, from your own problems.