Taking Out The Trash

You may recall a few weeks ago, I co-hosted a shower for sweet Anna Kate (the one in which we have no photographic evidence).  Although here’s a shot I texted my mom so she could see her silver put to good use:

After the shower had ended and all the guests had departed, I set out to put my house back together and prepare for another set of house guests arriving in a few short hours.  Since only a few days had passed since we had paid to have our house cleaned, I was still completely inspired and worked hard to keep everything clean and in its proper place.

For three hours, I cleaned up the shower remains, washed the sheets, remade the bed, wrapped a 30th birthday presentI was up and down and in every corner of my housethe main level, the basement, the attic, and the outside trash cans.

Around 8:00 I was exhausted and FINALLY ready to put my feet up.  I decided I would treat myself by painting my nails, so I got everything out to get started and then went to the bathroom to wash my hands.  As I dried them off, I noticed something felt off about the ring on my right hand…I looked down to realize the stone was missing…sheer panic set in.

This wasn’t just any ring, it was my college graduation present from my parents that I deeply cherished and valued.  It was also not the first time the stone had fallen outonly this time I was not fortunate enough to catch it in my hand.

It had only been a month  ince taking it to the jeweler in New York to be fixed where he informed us that it was one of the most beautiful stones of this type that he’d ever seen and the value of the ring had gone up considerably in the past six years.

I was freaking outI walked around my house saying, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus…”  Not in a cursing kind of way, but in a prayer of desperation kind of way.  The good news was that I KNEW it was in my house since I hadn’t left since I put it on, but the bad news was since I put it on, I had literally been in every single corner of my little tree houseit could be anywhere.  I retraced my many steps, crawled around on the floor, turned my cushions upside down, but to no avail.

I had been dealing with two different bags of trash, and I went down to try to look through them, but decided I would exhaust all other options before stooping to that level.

The days passed by with no sign of the stone…I would have dreams about finding it and wake up in the morning to look in that spot, but was never successful…I was panicked, but still had a little calm.  When things like this happen, there’s little we can do, so I didn’t want to ruin my week by being miserable.

B couldn’t believe that I was doing all kinds of grunt work wearing it after it had already fallen out oncehe was so right…I just hate it when he’s right.

I went on with my days always mindful it was missing, but not able to find it.  The one place I thought it could be was the guest bed since I had made it that afternoon, but each time I looked in the crevices, I couldn’t find it.

And then there were the trash bags that loomed in the back of my mind, but I just couldn’t bring myself to get to them.

Last week, I informed B that we could not put the trash on the street just in case my ring was in it…so yesterday with two weeks of trash piled up and trash day on the horizon, I knew it was time.

Before I jumped in, I took the guest bed apart one last time, shaking the sheets, pulling the bed apart, but still nothing.  The trash bags were calling my name.

I grabbed some gloves and made a make-shift mask with one of B’s undershirtsI was ready to go!  My first bag was mainly the wrapping paperno big deal.  I sorted through tissue paper, boxes, cards, ribbons, with a few cups thrown into the mix.  I even snagged some tissue paper and wrapping paper that I thought could be salvaged, only to realize that it carried with it the stench of garbage later on and therefore could not be resuscitated. 

I went through every corner, but found nothing, leading me to bag number two.  Ya’ll, I can’t even tell you how disgusting this waseven thinking about writing it is making me sick to my stomachwe had salmon, cheese, diapers….types of mold I didn’t even know existed were growing everywhere and there were flies and bugs crawling around the chocolate cupcake crumbs.  I sorted through some pieces picking it up one by one and then I would take a break to I dry heave in the corner.  Gross, gross, and grosser.  (At this point I was REALLY regretting the fact that we didn’t have a garbage disposal).

After all of that, I STILL didn’t find the ring.  What a waste! (pun intended)

I went back into the guestroom and prayed, asking God to show me where the ring was (keep in mind, I had been praying and praying, but hadn’t found anything).  I decided to pull the mattress off the bed and look in both corners against the wallwithin seconds, I felt itmy long lost stone had been found!

I shrieked and then just laid across the mattress clutching it tightly.  I couldn’t believe I found it! 

As I thought through the process it struck me that it wasn’t until after I had humbled myself to dig through a two-and-a-half-week old bag of trash that I discovered my stonein a place that I had already scoured several timeswhat was God trying to teach me?

Today, on the Tuesday before Easter, what I’ve come up with is thisso often my heart resembles that bag of trashfilled with nasty, decrepit thoughts, actions, and intentions.  That bag of trash is what my soul looks like without Jesuspurely detestable and dry heavable.

But Jesus, the only one who knows the full extent of my sinful nature, was ready and willing to die on the cross, giving His life for mine.  With that, He has turned my bag of trash into a new creationone that is clean, one that has a sweet aroma, one that is loved and cherished, and one that without doing a thing, is entitled to the free gift of everlasting life with the God of the universe.  Talk about a miracle!

So this year, as disgusting as digging through the trash was, I’m actually grateful the experience, because it has brought a fresh perspective on Christ’s sacrifice for me and just what a gift it is to be fully cleansed, fully forgiven, and fully loved by God.

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin.
Romans 3:23-25 (NLT) 

A few more “Lessons Learned” from my ring debacle:

  • As usual, B was rightit’s never a good idea to do housework in your fancy jewelry.
  • If the jeweler tells you your ring has doubled in value, get it insured.
  • At the end of the day, stuff is stuff…take care of what you have, but don’t let it overpower or define you.
  • When you lose things, ask God what He wants to teach you…whether you find it or not, there’s usually a lesson involved.