Wednesday, April 26, 2006

God and Windex

The tape is gone. Hallelujah. I'll explain.

I went into a funk about the time of the 2004 hurricanes. It was the time of awful stuff going on in the family, with the kind of ugliness that occurs when a family finally fractures, after years of slow splitting.

Then the hurricanes came. I striped "X"s of masking tape across all my windows as Charlie came toward us. By the time he was past, Frances was steaming toward us. I left the tape up. Then Jeanne announced her presence, so I left it up yet again.

I was without electric power for three days after Charlie and for six days after Frances. The hot, dank, dark house reinforced my depression and isolation.

Frances bearing down on Florida: enough to depress anyone.

After the hurricanes went by, I tried to remove the tape from the windows. I couldn't get it off, even with a razor blade and solvent. My efforts to scrape it just chipped and scratched the tape, and the solvent left smears on the windows. My attempts just left my hands cramping and scratched, and most of the tape in place. I gave up.

I was in too much of a funk to put a lot of effort into the task.

Every time I looked out the windows, I saw reminders of those dark days.

The funk remained, waxing and waning. My brother's death kept it in place last summer.

The last few months, it's been lifting. So Sunday, when I had an unexpected day off from my part-time job, I stayed home. I (gasp) didn't even go to church. I puttered around the house, to the accompaniment of old movies on TV.

I took an old utility knife, a scrubby pad, Windex, water and paper towels, and attacked windows.

The masking tape had weathered and begun to crumble with time. The knife removed most of the tape. Scrubbing the windows with a pad and Windex took off the remains.

Scrubbing was therapeutic.

Just as Brother Lawrence taught, the chore's simple, repetitive movements freed my mind to pray, to talk to God and receive his ministry. Old crud came off the windows, and off my shoulders and soul. My clothes got sweaty and dirty as I labored in the sun on the windows' exteriors, but I felt cleaner.

I stood in the yard and admired the large living-room windows, now unmarred by tape, unscarred by ugliness. They reflected the sun perfectly.

I stood in the living room-dining room and admired the light sparkling through the windows.

This may seem like a small thing, but victory over that tape is victory indeed, and a healing. I'm sure there's a metaphor in here about how time heals, and how hurts weather and fade with time -- with God's grace -- and he empowers us to remove the scars completely.

Thank you, God.

Light of God, always shine through these windows. Shine on me and my household.

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