Kitchen Drawers and Garbage Bins: Lessons in Patience and Humility

02 Mar

garbage bin

We have a troublesome drawer in our kitchen.  It is the bane of my wife’s existence.  She is sure it is evil and has been put on earth to try her patience and test her sanity. It would seem, at least on more than one occasion, the drawer has prevailed!

A little back story first would help you to understand.  We recently moved back to our hometown.  When we decided to move back we renovated her maternal grandparent’s house.  It is a simple, but well-built home.  Brick on all four sides.  Nice two car garage, which we enclosed with automatic doors during the renovation.  The floor in the living room is nice, old hard wood planks, I’m talking the real stuff.  There was pine paneling on the walls like many old, Southern homes had once upon a time.  You know the type, they make the room very dark and very small.  My wife, though, with a stroke of genius, decided to have them painted over and they turned out very well.

The cabinets and drawers in the kitchen we decided to keep.  We did make some changes to the arrangements, but they are the same that have been in the house since it was built.  Like the paneling in the living room, my wife decided to paint them (they were pine as well) and put a chocolate glaze on top the white paint.  Again, the result was very pleasing to the eye.  We even kept the lazy Susan in the corner cabinet.

However, there is this one (demonic?) drawer.  It is to the left of the stove, third one down.  Needless to say, there is not much in the drawer, not much anyway that my wife ever uses.  She despises the drawer.  I think it causes her mental anguish just to look at it.  The problem with this particular drawer is that it opens well enough, but it is not as accommodating when it comes time to close.  You see, it hangs up about two-thirds of the way closed and fights tooth and nail from that point on not to shut easily or quietly.  It doesn’t make much noise, but after a couple of minutes of trying, whoever is attempting to close it is making plenty of noise by that point!

It can be done though.  It can be shut, but it usually takes a bit of time and lots of patience.  The problem seems to be with the track.  I think the spacing of the track is a little off, thus causing the closing dilemma.  Now, I’m sure someone is asking, why not just fix it?  Well, that’s a very practical question.  First, I’m not much of a carpenter.  I’m afraid by the time I finished “fixing” it there would be bigger problems with which I would need to contend.  Second, it has almost become part of the family at this point.  Okay, this may be more of an excuse than anything, but I think it works.

I mean we all have those quaint, annoying relatives who test our patience and hospitality on occasion.  (Not to say we don’t have those too, but at least a drawer can be ignored.)      I mean think about it.  Maybe God has placed that drawer in our lives to teach us a bit of patience and even humility.  I once told a congregant who was complaining that God did not seem to be hearing, or at least answering her prayers as late, if she really wanted to hear God answer her prayers to pray for one of two things:  patience or humility.  You will be amazed how lightning fast those answers come!

I remember when I was in college, I believe my senior year, I had been praying for humility.  A shock to think a person would need to pray for humility I know.  There had been a rainstorm that day and gusty wind.  On my commute home (about a forty-five minute drive) I topped a hill and there was a green, plastic garbage bin in the road.  It had apparently been emptied by the garbage man that morning and had been blown out into the road by the gusts.  I carefully switched lanes and continued on my way.  As I passed the bin, I felt the Lord saying to me, turn around and get the bin out of the road.  I thought, What?  Almost as quickly as the what? thought came to me I felt the answer, it will teach you humility.  I thought about it a second or so longer, found a place in the median where I could turn around, and went back and removed the bin from the road.     I remember feeling quite good about my humble action . . .  too good perhaps.  It’s the old adage of once you start thinking about how humble you are, you’re not any longer.  So, there I was back in my car driving toward home, thinking about what a noble thing I had just done.  After all, if I had not removed the bin from the road it may have caused a wreck for a less astute driver, meeting it as they topped that hill.  If nothing less, I saved the homeowner the danger of daring to enter a lane of traffic to retrieve it; I mean, what if they were elderly or had some sort of disability?  At least I saved him/her the cost of buying another bin, because more than likely theirs would have been damaged if it had remained in the road.  I was pretty sure at this point I was something of a hero . . . or, at least, a Good Samaritan of biblical proportions.

So much for the humility lesson!  But, wouldn’t you know it, not much farther into my commute and low and behold, another garbage bin in the lane of traffic.  I saw it, (by the way, I was still glowing in my own self-praise), and I thought, huh, imagine that two bins in one day.  I once again carefully switched lanes and continued on my way.  Once again I felt the familiar stab in my conscience, turn around and remove the bin from the road.

You’re kidding right? I mean come on, you can’t expect a guy to do the same bizarre thing once in one day, let alone, one commute! 

The stab continued its stabbing, turn around and remove the bin.

Okay. Okay. So, I did just that.  I turned around and removed a second garbage bin from the road.  I carefully placed it in a secure spot and got back in the car.

I didn’t think this second bin in the road had anything to do with coincidence; in fact, by now, I wasn’t even sure it had anything to do with all that gusty wind earlier in the day.  It took two garbage bins to get the message across.  I remember thanking the Lord for another lesson and I humbly (am I allowed to say that?) drove home.

The drawer in the kitchen is a constant reminder to learn and practice patience and humility.  No, it’s not as dangerous or bizarre I suppose, but it still gets the job done.  I’m sure eventually I’ll end up fixing the drawer, or at least having someone else fix it.  But, I then wonder from where all these lessons of patience and humility will come?  But, something tells me God will have that under control.  Who knows?  I may be driving along some road one day and spot a garbage bin in the road.  Only God knows.

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Posted by on March 2, 2013 in Daily Prompt


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