Friday, October 9, 2009

Knock, Knock, Who's There?

Most normal people are able to stay in hotels without any problems whatsoever, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with my family. For some reason, wherever we go, we never lack at least one embarrassing event. Don’t go thinking we’re crazy or anything. We just seem to be tested more than others. I’m sure we’ll be better for it in the long run. 

Sometime back, there was a week-long revival meeting with a speaker we really wanted to hear. The meeting was to be held almost twenty-five miles from where we lived. Rather than drive back and forth every night for the week, we decided to check into a hotel closer by. Besides being more convenient, it would make us feel like we were away from home and add more excitement to the whole event. 

Now when it comes to packing, Robbie Lee is at her peak of expertise. This woman writes out lists of things to bring before she even begins topack. She coordinates colors and only packs the needed number of outfits for each day. You know the type, “I’ll wear this on Monday and this pretty little outfit on Tuesday, etc.” When you walk in her room, she has each outfit laid out with a pair of socks, underwear, and any needed accessories.As she places each item in her suitcase, she checks it off her handy list, humming as she goes along. I can’t watch for very long before I become very nauseous. 

I, on the other hand, can never decide what to bring. I stand in my closet for hours just trying to decide if I even like an item well enough to take it on a trip with me, trying to envision myself wearing each piece of clothing. My biggest hang-up is I’m afraid I’ll get away from home and hate everything I brought to wear. So I bring what I like to call “just-in-case” clothes. I usually need more than one suitcase when I’m finished, but it’s worth the trouble. 

Mom is the worst of the lot. It doesn’t take her any time to pack because she just goes intoher closet and pulls out everything she owns. She does this whether she’s going away for a week or only one night. Not onlydoes she bring everything, but she leaves it all on hangers instead of putting them in her suitcase. Her suitcase is reserved for underwear and a wide variety of plastic bags that hold makeup, medicine, facial creams, and Lord knows what else. Mom actually doesn’t understand the concept of a suitcase. She insists on putting everything in a plastic bag before it’s packed. This is so she can drive us crazy late at night in the room while she rummages through each one, making lots of noise. 

When we finally arrived at the hotel, the check-in process went just fine. We were told that our room was ready, and the desk clerk carefully gave us instructions on how to get to it. Of course, none of us paid any attention. We all stared at the woman, shaking our heads while saying, “Uh-huh. Uh-huh.”But when everything was said and done, not one of us could remember what she said. We each remembered bits and pieces of her instructions, so we figured we’d manage. 

Our room was located in another building. We piled back into the car and while we all talked at once, we drove like mad women all over the parking lot until we finally arrived at the right spot. Of course, getting the clothes out of the car is always a disaster. Mom is a small, petite woman, and she’s not able to handle very much weight. So she usually ends up carrying one small bag, and Robbie Lee and I get stuck with the entire contents of her closet. I don’t like to make two trips, so I insisted that we carry everything up at once. 

Loaded down with hanging clothes, suitcases, and the many spare shoes, we started out to find our room. Robbie Lee and Mom remembered the room number, and they had the key. 

“The room number is 328,” Robbie Lee yelled back at me. 

“Wait, why are you going that way?” I asked. 

“Because this is the way the woman said to go,”replied Robbie Lee. “Weren’t you listening?” 

“Yes, but I think I’m going to take the stairs instead of walking the length of the hallway to find an elevator. It’ll be shorter.” 

“Suit yourself, but I think you’re making a big mistake.” 

“You take Mom with you. I’ll meet ya’ll there.” 

So we separated. I headed up the stairs, barely able to walk with the load I’m carrying. I watched as Robbie Lee struggled with her baggage, walking behind Mom who looked like she was the queen of the hotel carrying her one small bag. Before long, I was exhausted, and I didn’t think I could take another step. The stairs nearly killed me. I called Mom names under my breath with every painful step I took. Finally I saw the room number,328. The door was already half open. 

“Oh, good, they’re already in there.” I thought. 

With one swift kick, I flung open the door and ran to the first bed I saw, throwing down everything I had in my arms. 

“Whew! I made it. I didn’t think I was going to be able to take another step.”

As I looked up, there sat an elderly man with white hair in his bathrobe. He was sitting in the corner of the room with the television remote control in his hand. His eyes were as wide as saucers, and he looked like he had just seen a ghost. He pointed the remote at me as if to say, “Take one more step, baby, and I’ll mute you.” 

“I’m so sorry,”I said, picking up my suitcases and hanging clothes. “I must have the wrong room. I’m leaving right away.” 

As I struggled with the bags and the door, I knew the old man must have been thinking I would never leave his room. He never moved from his chair and kept the remote control on me the whole time. When I finally fell outside into the hallway, I just burst out laughing until I started to cry. I couldn’t help but see the expression on that man’s face over and over again in my mind. I’m sure he was calling the front desk complaining about this crazy woman who barged into his room and was now having some kind of fit outside his door. 

I finally managed to drag myself down the hall until I saw Robbie Lee and Mom standing outside our door. 

“Where have you been? We were getting worried,” said Robbie Lee. 

“You gave me the wrong room number. I’ve just been down the hall terrorizing an elderly gentleman.” 

“Yeah, I know. I knocked on the wrong door too. A man answered the door wearing a towel. He must’ve just gotten out of the shower. I apologized and left. We finally discovered the right room number scribbled on a piece of paper the woman had given us.” 

“Hurry up and put the bags down so we can go eat,”added Mom in her helpful manner. 

Later that evening during the revival meeting, I saw the elderly man I scared half to death going up for prayer. I reckon he figured he’d better not take any chances while there was a wild woman roaming the halls of the hotel.

“For Each One Should Carry His Own Load.” 

Ever tried taking on more than you can handle? It’s so easy to do. At the time it all seems manageable to you, but down the road you find yourself burdened down with not only your load, but everyone else’s as well. Christians always seem to feel that if they do more work, God will love them more. The truth is He just wants a relationship with us, and no amount of work we do will make that relationship better. But still we take it all on. We say, “Maybe if I do this in addition to this thing over here, God will look down and say,‘My, I sure do love that little son or daughter of mine. They just work, work, work.’ ”In reality, He’s looking down and saying, “Hey, I wonder when my son or daughter is going to stop running around in circles and spend some time with me.” 

It’s important to learn how to say no. We tend to feel guilty if we have to turn someone down even when we know we’re filled to capacity and can’t handle any more. Instead, we find ourselves letting“yes”leak from our mouths far too many times. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should never volunteer for anything. I’m just saying learn to weigh the load you are already carrying against the additional load someone’s asking you to take on. If you don’t, you may find yourself with no time left for your family, yourself, or your Lord. You’ll start to feel empty, burned-out, and unsatisfied. 

Slowdown. Carry a manageable load. Learn to say “no.” Spend time working on your relationship with Christ. Everything else will fall into place.

Excerpt from "Life is a Buffet So Save Room For Dessert." Copyright © by Polly D. Boyette 2005. "All rights reserved."

No comments:

Post a Comment