Notes from Jan

Thoughts on Privies, Pedestals, and Ponderables

March 5, 2021

The toilet sat outside, just beyond the condo’s front steps. I noticed it when I walked down the street to the mailboxes. The condo sold a few weeks back, so I supposed this was the result of internal renovations, not a bizarre housewarming gift.

But then, it remained for days in the front yard, so I wondered. I mean, there are strict regulations about dogs doing their business, so to speak, outside. However, with numerous prohibitions during the pandemic, I wondered if the potty had a purpose. Maybe a shed-like structure would soon appear for warmth, privacy, and emergencies. I mean, renovations almost always take longer and cost more than anticipated.

To be sure, I wouldn’t have given it another thought except I was expecting a shipment of toilet paper and didn’t want the driver of the semi to view the privy, of sorts, as the place to unload. Well, like most of what I worry about, nothing untoward happened. My toilet paper arrived and when I went for yesterday’s mail, the toilet was gone, like the snow.

So, what’s the point? There is none. Except it just goes to show stuff happens sometimes that makes no sense. Like a golden image of the former president and folks bowing down or taking selfies with it at a recent conference in Orlando.

Well, while nothing much came from a renegade toilet, a great deal, none of it good, comes from worshiping a false god. Idols, whether a golden calf or the gilt image of a former president, portend something far worse than a pandemic. Pedestals worry me.

But then, humility’s a hard sell, like Jesus squatting down to wash the feet of his disciples, instead of arming them to defend his leadership. Which reminds me of yesterday’s lesson with Dean Robert. It came from John 6. Jesus is teaching but with little success, if numbers matter. The large crowd of disciples (students) listen and complain. Then, many turn away because “the teaching is too hard.”(v.60,66,NLT)

Jesus watched the crowd thin until only twelve remained. To these dearly loved leftovers he asked,“Will you go, too?”(v.67) And my heart broke for Jesus while he waits. But, I also hurt for all who struggle to teach closed minds, to believe God is good during tough times, to understand hard teachings, or to hang onto hope and faith when nothing seems to change.

Well, life’s made up of quandaries as mundane as a privy in a neighbor’s yard and as monumental as the question Jesus asked a handful of followers long ago. But Jesus’s question is ours, as well.

So, when times and teachings become “too hard,” do I throw in the towel and turn away? Or do I turn towards, pick up a leftover towel and let my feet answer?

The question’s daily, “Are you going to leave, too?” But the answer comes one step after another, towards or away.

Lent is for listening and pondering.

Hard to believe, but Jesus is praying we’ll come and stay.

A ponderable:“Thus, when you wake up in the morning called by God to be a self again, if you want to know who you are, watch your feet. Because where you feet take you, that is who you are.” Frederick Buechner, The Alphabet of Grace

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6 Comments

  • Reply Russell K Bishop March 5, 2021 at 4:35 pm

    …but please keep us updated on the toilet. Inquiring minds will want to know!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg March 5, 2021 at 6:21 pm

      Nothing new to report. No toilet. No shed in the making, so no lines forming.

  • Reply Sharon Davie March 6, 2021 at 10:54 am

    Started out with a good laugh and ended with a deep truth, thanks for both.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg March 6, 2021 at 4:19 pm

      Well that’s life, pretty much, when we’re paying attention to what’s around and in us and others.. Such a good gift to hear from you, dear Sharon.

  • Reply patrick mccary March 6, 2021 at 3:03 pm

    Jan, Keep the blogs coming! Jud must be so proud of you!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg March 6, 2021 at 4:24 pm

      Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve heard from him directly. But, for sure he’s praying for me. Which is good, since who knows
      what I’d write without those heavenly checks and balances.

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