Paul is still unemployed, a bit stir-crazy, and barking up every tree reported to have a job in it. He just had an interview this morning - his third interview in the almost 2 months he's been out of work. It was really the last place he ever expected to get a call from. So, last night, I trimmed Paul's hair, and, in the middle of the lightning storm of the decade, ironed his clothes for the interview. He feels it went well; and that's good. There are two possible good outcomes from job interviews: the best is that you get hired, the second best that you don't make a fool of yourself. At the very least we know he didn't do the second. We won't know about the first until the middle of next week.
Those of you who follow me on facebook probably already know that God has blessed me with a new housecleaning client. It will be six hours a week and will nearly double my income. With this and the income from the book business, which is slowly improving, we should be able to hang on for some time while Paul looks for work. And once he finds work, Lord willing, we can begin to dig our way out of debt (which is what we were trying to do before the lay-off). So, it's a great opportunity, and I knew it when I accepted it; but that did not stop me from nearly panicking when I got a look at the house. You see, it is the cleanest place I've ever seen in my life. It looks just like a brand new model home even though it's over a dozen years old. It is perfect, and was perfect before their old housekeeper started her work for the day. I know because she's the one who showed me around and told me it always looks like that when she gets there. She's says, "I don't clean, I fluff and polish. That's why I've kept this job all these years." I'll be replacing this woman who's cleaned for them twice a week for 13 years and is dearly loved. (No pressure there!) I'll also be doing what she did for only one day a week, not two.
Anyway, you're probably wondering why this isn't great news to me instead of stressful. Well, I keep wondering that, too. I guess the best way to put it is that perfection is a very high standard to live up to. When I walked into that house, I felt like I was the dirtiest thing in it. That just my presence there made it less perfect. Also, I suddenly I felt like I wasn't doing a good enough job at my other jobs, because they never look that good - even though I know they can't look that good and so do the clients. (Most of my clients have pets, and grandchildren, and wouldn't think of wiping down the sink whenever a drop of water falls into it. Their homes are very lived in and haven't had every single surface polished at least twice a week since the day they were built like this house has.) After I saw that perfect house my world shifted. I began working past the time I'm paid for on my other jobs trying to bring them closer to this new standard of perfection. My own house now seemed intolerably filthy. I felt like I had to clean it more and better or go mad, and started to work on it. It was the beginning of a mania - almost. Thankfully I've been alive long enough to recognize that I was overreacting and that I needed to get my head screwed back down. And so, after much thought (This is a good lesson, in case it hasn't already occurred to you, on the perfect standard of the Law and how it kills and why we so desperately need the life of the gospel.) I've settled down and evaluated what I should be learning from this. First, I'll never be able to make my own or any other house I clean like that house. Even if I were to succeed in making them that clean they will still never look like model homes. That's not the kind of homes they're meant to be. Second, I realized that over the last year or two I've gradually lowered my standards and let laziness gain footholds in my life. I've begun to look to not working as the reward for working rather than viewing both things as gifts from God and doing both - work and rest - as unto the Lord. Work is our worship, rest is our worship, "worship" is our worship. It is all the same if done to the glory of the God. I'd begun to lose the joy of my work because I'd gradually ceased to do it as unto the Lord. So now I'm reminded to enjoy my work while I'm working. It is a gift from God and a blessing to others. I should not waste my time, and throw away my joy, while I'm working wishing I was done working. So, this new job has been a gift in a number of ways. Beyond a gift of financial provision, it's become a refresher course in Christian contentment and a motivation to enjoy my own housework again. (But I'm still nervous - I know I shouldn't be... I know.)
And for some big news, Tony has passed all his classes and graduates from Chico High tonight! High school was a rough time for him but he got through it and will graduate with his class, right on time - not something that usually happens for the males of his gene pool. He did not give up. And for this we are very proud of him. We are a bit nervous about the ceremony, though. It's to be held outdoors, and more lightning is in the forecast. I hope they have a contingency plan. I'd have dreaded to be sitting out on metal bleachers during the audacious storm we had last night! I also hate to think of the event being ruined for his dad, who is driving up 500 miles from So. California just for the occasion.
Now, for some bloggy stuff. I believe that nature is one God's ways of revealing Himself to man (Rom. 1:19-20; Ps. 19:1-6), and so I love science and find it enriches my studies of theology and gives me great thoughts to think about God. So I've begun featuring little science bits here on Saturdays. Unfortunately I've felt the need to try to steer clear of stories that are too weighed down with mentions of Darwinianism because some people react so strongly to the mere mention of evolution that they can no longer listen to what's being said, and so miss out on all the wonderful science. I think we need to learn to listen to what science and scientists have to tell us. We need to listen calmly, and discerningly, understanding that most scientists have certain presuppositions, and knowing what those are. Once we can do that we will be able to keep our heads about us and learn from the research and study what we can about creation. I say all that because I want to introduce you to an uncommon and wonderful science program. I say it's wonderful, because it is. I say it's uncommon because it is hosted by two men, one a died-in-the-wool Darwinian, the other a Jewish man who believes firmly in intelligent design. The stories are compelling and the dialogue eye-opening and heartwarming. It provides, beyond wonderful scientific questioning and discussion, an example of the decorum and respect that should certainly characterize our dialogues as Christians. Now that I've given my highest recommendation, please take a listen to one of my favorite episodes from Radio Lab from WNYC.
Now, on another note - politics. No, not really. Other than the fact that I'm adamantly pro-life, I feel no need for anyone to be aware here of my political views. Besides admitting to being a Calvinist, there's probably no quicker way to needlessly alienate fellow Christians, not to mention unbelievers, than to start talking politics. All that said, I've got to tell you, I absolutely love getting e-mails from the White House. There's nothing that makes you feel quite so "in the loop" as the latest White House update. How do I know? I've gotten two so far, one of them this morning. What a great way to keep posted on what's foremost on the mind of our highest government officials. Today's topic is America and the nation of Islam, no trifling matter. Take a look at today's update. If you'd like to receive updates of your own, you can click the button at the top right of the site.
Okay, that's about all I've got, except for one more thing, a great little quote about marriage from Martin Luther:
"The first love is drunken. When the intoxication wears off, then comes the real marriage love."