"The good news is your tools are still at my house, the bad news is... my bed just broke."
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I feel like there has been a theme the past few weeks of things breaking in and around my life. Before leaving Laos for the states, my camera and cell phone both went on the fritz. Both have been replaced. Then since coming back a bunch more has happened. One morning last week I couldn't get my motorbike started, and then went to unlock my front gate so my neighbor could come look at it... and realized someone had broken through my gate lock and it was missing. The gate was open, and someone had tried to steal my motorbike. PTL for a lock on the back wheel that prevented a successful robbery. And as I write my landlord is building a special "security gate" for our motorbikes!
Then my teammates (Kirk and Calah Ronzheimer) graciously came over to help me paint my room and really make it feel like home. Thankfully, they brought their tools... and were able to also fix our broken bathroom light so we don't have to use a little lamp in there anymore. Plus Kirk moved my shower head so that it is now above head-level (because it was previously waist-level... which wasn't so useful for washing hair).
And for some unknown reason, my hot water heater stopped working in my bathroom. I didn't do anything different than usual, so I'm a bit stumped as to why it's broken. It's ok at the moment as it is quite hot, but believe it or not- the weather does cool off in the coming months and hot showers are actually nice at times. My landlord would like me to buy a new one- since it broke under my care- but I feel like it's part of the house. I'm having an electrician come to look at it today to see if he can fix it- that would be the best case scenario (rather than buying a new one for $100).
Oh, and this week I was leaving the house for school one morning, and couldn't get my side door to open. I pushed harder, and even resorted to body slamming that door with all my might- and it wouldn't budge. So with a sore hip, I went to the front door and exited that way instead. However, upon putting my key into the door to lock it, my key broke off in the door. Unbelievable. Thankfully my landlord came that afternoon and got the piece of the key out of the door, I've since made another copy of the key, and he also took a knife and shaved the wood down on my door (which had expanded and closed shut with the humidity of rainy season).
Speaking of rainy season, the road that leads to my house gets quite, shall we say, interesting with all the rain. It's a bumpy dirt road and and it definitely flooded with all the rain. So I put my feet up on the motorbike rather than the foot pedals when driving through to avoid getting soaked. The sun has come out and dried it up though- thank goodness. And according to my next door neighbor, there's a hopeful rumor that there's a plan to pave the road after rainy season. That would be WONDERFUL!
I also got an e-mail a few days ago from a good friend explaining some things in our friendship that have been hurtful. It was humbling to realize that there was brokenness in one of my most valued relationships too. I'm grateful we've had a chance to talk things through and forgive and continue growing.
So this morning I got out of bed, and then sat back down and BOOM. My bed broke. I was shocked! Seriously? I wasn't doing anything unusual (and really haven't put on that much weight- ha ha)... but one side of the bed frame had just had enough I guess!
I'm not trying to complain here- my life is truly blessed... but there is a point to all of this. While it seems like a never ending saga that has taken a lot of time and energy recently (especially when you're communicating in your second language and culture and you are not a natural "fixer-upper" type), I have been encouraged in the end that with each thing that has broken or been problematic, there have been solutions and fixes- not to mention adequate finances and skilled people to help. Things don't have to stay broken.
It made me start thinking about how tiring it is that our world is a fallen, broken one. And that not only things break, but also our relationships (to others and J), and our physical bodies: a sweet friend's dad passed away the day before I left the states to come to the US, one of my supporters was just diagnosed with serious cancer, my neighbor passed away the week before I returned to Laos, and a Lao friend's father passed away the day after I returned. All but my neighbor knew/know the Father.
And yet, there is hope in the midst of the bad news of brokenness. The hope is that there is good news: the ultimate good news is that J came so that we might have LIFE and have it to the fullest. He has the victory over the one who keeps breaking people and things. He is making all things new! He cares deeply about the hurting, the poor, the sick, and all of us messed up people. Just like 'things' don't have to stay broken, He doesn't leave us broken either. He restores and fixes us continuously! I am challenged to constantly remember that people around me don't have to stay "broken" either. How are we allowing Him to use us in His transforming work in people around us?
And all of this definitely renews my longing for the time and place when things and people will be whole through Him. And the best part is that we'll be with Him. FOREVER.
There will be a day . . . (by Jeremy Camp)
"I hold on to this hope: There will be a day with no more suffering. There will be a day with no more tears. No more pain. No more fears. There will be a day when the burdens of this place will be no more. We'll see J face to face. But until that day, we'll hold onto You always."