It just looks bad, doesn't it? I mean, If my doctor told me I had disease F:51, I'd probably call my Mom and cry.
And then eat some ice cream.
and a brownie
When it shows up on the display of the washing machine, it means it's not working. It means the four loads of laundry that have accumulated over the last two days are gonna have to accumulate a little longer until someone can fix it. It means you can turn it on and turn it off, and restart your load, but in the end, nothing is going to work. That's what it means.
It's an F:51, after all.
It means you're gonna have to take your slightly damp and still unclean laundry out of the tub and ponder your laundry for longer than seems appropriate. You will have to think about things like: do you put slightly damp and unclean laundry in the dryer? Because who knows when it's going to have a chance to be actually cleaned again...leaving it to rot is the answer. It kind of feels like it is because it's ...dirty, you don't dry dirty clothes, you dry clean ones...right? I'm no expert on stain removal, but I'm pretty sure adding heat doesn't make things easier. Except in this case, it's an obscenely large pile of laundry for your obscenely large washing machine. It's too much for hanging to dry and it also happens that it accounts for a high percentage of your own clothing, so you'll guess you can't leave it to rot. Or can you?
I really should stop writing in third person. Cause I'm guessing you didn't have a problem yesterday with your washing machine - I did.
And I feel like I've been having a lot of F:51 moments lately.
So here's the lesson I learned from something as lame as a washing machine...well not just my washing machine. More like my washing machine and 32 other little events that have happened over the past few weeks.
It's somewhat telling when I start psycho-analyzing my washing machine. In my defense, we do spend a lot of time together, and we're pretty close. We fight the Laundry Monster together on a weekly, if not daily basis. But it's downright lugubrious when you see yourself in your own washing machine. .
First of all, the good news: it turns out F:51 isn't a death knell.
I know you're glad to hear I am not writing this post, posthumously.
After a day of being emptied of it's contents, turned off, an totally ignored, the washing machine is working again. It turns out F:51 is a secret washing machine code that means: I love washing your clothes almost all the time. I'm even really good at it (most of the time). In fact, I know I am fulfilling my created purpose when I clean your clothes, it even brings me joy to do so. But right now, I need a break. I need to do nothing for a little while. I need to be emptied of work-to-do. I need...a rest.
At least, I think that's what it means..
I realized a few weeks ago that I have bought into and wrapped my life around some very small but significant kernels of untruth, the first one being: If I am leading the life God wants me to, I won't need rest.
I have been really good at following my own advice in not leading a stressful-busy life. I haven't, however, been very good in my life at practicing restfulness. I think I have assumed that as long as I wasn't leading a busy life, I didn't need rest. I have lived like choosing joy and working hard completes the picture. I have never felt the need to escape my life, because I love my life. But this past year, underneath all the joy (which is real, I might add) there is bone tired weariness. Weariness from living a well-loved life without resting.
I'm good at finding joy, I can find humour in just about everything and that certainly keeps me sane, or at least happily insane. I'm good at encouragement, I'm good at working hard, but I really have a lot to learn about resting.
When I write it out it seems so obvious. Of course taking a break from the regular work and responsibilities of your life are a good thing. Like a good friend counselled me, as I started to unravel a few weeks ago: Taking breaks are not a sign that you hate your life, it's part of living a balanced life.
But in my heart I believed that if I just un-busyed myself enough, that would be the same as resting. If I was only doing the things that I really felt God wanted me to, I could do them in perpetuity.
When other people go on vacations, or take breaks, I don't assume there is something wrong with them: that they are desperate to save their marriage or to have something change in their life. I'm honestly so thrilled to hear about it, because I think vacations are great...for them. I feel the need to apologize whenever I am doing anything that might be construed as not working. Like I can't just enjoy something because God is amazing and loves to make life neon awesome.
Which leads me to another lie.
That the goodness that I believe God wants to give to someone else, is not the same goodness that He wants to give me.
Here's the truth: God doesn't give me good things with one hand and wait to smack me with the other.
I need to stop living like He does.
For right now it means I am going to do the hard work of learning how to actually rest.
It's going to start with taking a vacation. How neon awesome is that? And then when I get back, it's going to mean finding ways to actually observe restfulness on a more regular basis. Any advice you have on the subject is most appreciated! And if you see me, and you happen to ask me about it, and I start apologizing, or explaining all the reasons I'm not taking the vacation for (not to save my marriage, not to leave a life I hate etc.) please stop me, and just remind me that God can handle it if I take a few days off.
He's got the whole world in his hand, my life included.
So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. For all who have entered into God's rest have rested from their labours, just as God did after creating the world. So let us do our best to enter that rest... Hebrews 4:9- 11