Thursday, December 20, 2007

Lessons from the Vacuum

Today in a spurt of unusual energy I decided to vacuum. This in itself is not a big deal, but what happened while I was doing it got me thinking.

Typically when I begin to vacuum a domino affect begins. It starts with Josh who leads his younger sister into a screaming, running, race-like panic around the house. They aren't afraid of the vacuum, but it makes for some kid of kiddo-fun that I am not privy to. Because the noise level is already quite high from the vacuum itself, I really don't care that they are tearing around the house like a bunch of people at the day after Thanksgiving sales.

Owen HATES the vacuum. He usually needs to be in another part of the hemisphere so he won't notice the roar and movement of this strange beast. His fear can be seen the instant the button clicks, the lights come on, and it roars to power. His little eyes widen, his breathing quickens and the tears begin to well in those precious blue pools of the windows to his heart.

But today...

I really needed to vacuum. I didn't want to wait until he was asleep for fear that it would waken him, believing I left him to fend for himself against the vacuum. So I prepared him. I held him tight, spoke to him in a reassuring voice, and even gave him the cord to hold onto for a sense of control. And we began. The vacuum roared to life and I waited.

He paused.
One quick breath.
And then.

He laid his sweet little head on my shoulder.

I quickly began working the room in the hope that I could at least get some of today's lunch off the floor.

He snuggled in.

Soon, I realized that he was getting REALLY heavy. I thought that my feeble arm muscles were just getting a good workout, until I passed the mirror in the bathroom.

He was ASLEEP.

As I finished what I needed to do, and he snoozed sweetly on my shoulder, I began to think about how his fear and, now, this comfort came from the same source. What had changed? Would it happen again? It reminded me of one of the hardest concepts to understand in our Christian walk...Fearing the Lord. Fearing God is a topic I recently spoke with some friends about and heard an amazing thought. Fear is tied up with awe and reverence. To fear God we don't have the same reaction Owen used to show with the vacuum. We aren't supposed to go running and screaming and be afraid. We are to care what He cares for, and hate what He hates. When you think of it that way, a change happens. The same kind of change that happened for Owen. It becomes a comfort. A safe place, because you know that you are following His will. He has given you His rules, shown us what He cares about, and now we can take comfort in the fact that we can fear Him, by following Him. He even gives us a bit of control (like Owen and the cord), by giving us free will to CHOOSE HIM!

PS. Maybe I'll learn something while I clean the bathroom next!


emilymcd said...

OH man, this is a very special story, Kris. Isn't that amazing? You helped him through his fear into comfort. Isn't it funny what they'll sleep through?

Shucks... this story is going into some kind of devotional.

Sittintall said...

That is so sweet. I bet seeing him in the mirror sleeping on your shoulder warmed your heart. And what a great story too. I'm glad that you were able to have that good talk about fear. I know that concept still confuses me a little bit. Great analogy though.