Monday, December 16, 2013

Making a Masterpiece out of Aluminum Foil Dryer Balls

I had a fun post planned for today. Back in July 2012 I read a cool article about using aluminum foil balls in the dryer to keep clothes static free. We published it in our monthly newsletter which goes out to our residents, family, and friends. Like most of the articles we include, we actually try them out because they sound cool.

So, a year and a half ago we made a couple balls. And just this week, one of those balls finally cracked. I thought it looked cool and thus came an opportunity to write about it and a couple other drying tips:

  • Cut your dryer sheets in half... you really don't need that huge sheet.
  • Wash your lint trap with soapy water every once in a while because a thin film builds up that blocks airflow. You'll notice faster drying times.
  • If you live somewhere that doesn't rain a lot, try drying your cloths outside on a line.
But then before sitting down to write about it, I decided to read a friend's new blog. She left for Mexico 3 months ago and decided to write about her experiences. Here's a small excerpt:
"I am learning to sense God’s presence in new ways through conversations, different aspects of His creation, and in some of the most simple and—some might argue—undignified tasks. I am learning to practice the presence of God while cleaning toilets; talking to a classmate from New Zealand, Mexico, Belgium or the Dominican Republic; watching a sea turtle burry her eggs in the sand; hand-washing and hang-drying my cotton shirts; playing soccer on the beach with giggling children; waiting with hunger in the dinner line, my physical hunger a subtle reminder of a deeper hunger growing within me; sweeping porches; washing dishes; talking to 17-year old Ameyalli after her basketball game at the park; picking out my roommates’ (and probably mine too) hair from our shower drain; being challenged and inspired through guest speakers;"

Yeah. I'm suddenly trying to figure out the value of my life if the biggest thing I chose to write about this week is an aluminum dryer ball cracking. Clearly, if I try to measure my life in similar experiences it's a futile effort because I'll never come close to her. This also begs a different question: what is the right way to measure your life? Should it even be measured?

I'll admit that I don't know the answer, but I do like John Wooden's famous quote: "Make each day a master piece." It seems to sum of the Lord's prayer pretty well which says, "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." (Matthew 6:9-13)

By the way, what is God's will? Mark 12:28 answers this: "And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, "Which commandment is the most important of all?" Jesus answered, "The most important is, 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these.""

In other words, make the most of what you're given today to glorify God. For some of us, that means working hard at our job today, spending time with your kids, taking the time to listen to a friend you meet at the bar, cheerfully cleaning a toilet, or writing a blog post about dryer balls to help others save money. In each case, you're creating a masterpiece if you take your situation, set yourself aside, and focus on a) loving God and b) loving your neighbor. This is a commitment every single one of us can make. It's a commitment that is worth measuring and pursuing.

The follow up to this commitment is to change your environment if you don't feel like you're able to accomplish God's will as best you can. For some people it's obvious: too much TV or alcohol can steal your focus on creating a masterpiece. Cut back on those and replace them with activities focused on God's will. For some people, it means packing up and heading to Mexico. For my friend, I know her problem was that life was good (almost too easy) and she found herself looking for more. I actually think getting away is a great way to shake things up and re-align your priorities for when you get back. It doesn't always have to be 3+ months either. One week of purposeful mission-style service will do it for most folks.

So, in summary (I feel like I need one after this ramble):
  • Make each day a masterpiece.
  • Do this by loving God and loving people.
  • If you feel like your not, change your environment so you can.
  • That just might include making an aluminum dryer ball, cleaning your lint trap, and cutting your dryer sheets in half. Then taking that $5 you save each month and using it to bless someone else's life.

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