Spilled Iced Coffee

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The other day I made the most delicious cup of iced coffee. I was proud of the perfect brew I had concocted, a beverage that would make any Starbucks barista proud. Fair-trade organic coffee beans. A bit of soy milk. Some French vanilla creamer. I could not wait to enjoy this nectar of the gods. That is, until I spilled the entire contents of my lid-less mason jar of liquid gold in my car.

I’ve been in Florida for six and a half weeks now and I have been meaning to get my car detailed. Between months of chauffeuring small children who notoriously leave crumbs in the backseat, stray grains of sand that freed themselves from my beach chair during the summer and the two-and-a-half day trip from NJ to FL, my car was a mess. It was dirty enough to bother me but not dirty enough to motivate me to do something about it.

That’s where my massive, sticky, aromatic spill comes in. We’re talking BP-in-the-Gulf-of-Mexico style. Coffee, ice, soy milk and creamer everywhere in my front seat. Little pools in my cup holders. Drips down my cd player and dashboard. Sprayed tan puddles on the floor mats.

The funny thing about Florida is the sun. It literally turns your car into a convection oven in the summer. In fact, I’m pretty sure if you cracked an egg in a pan and set it on your dashboard, you could have sunny side up eggs that would be worthy to serve at any Jersey diners. Needless to say, after leaving the spill for only an hour, my car started to reek.

That’s when I stopped home, grabbed a sponge, paper towels and some multi-surface antibacterial spray to clean up my mess. I figure that would be enough to rid my car the reminder of my negligence.

I was wrong. After work that day, my car smelled worse, and the large latte-colored stains were a visual reminder of the morning’s fiasco.

Today, armed with spot cleaner, odor-removing carpet powder, Lysol, four quarters, a scrub brush, sponge, and Febreze, I set out to clean up the mess of my car. It was finally filthy enough to make me do something about it. One dollar, a half hour, and a few ounces of sweat later, my car is crumb-less, sand-less, coffee-less and smells pleasantly of “fresh scent.”

Question: How filthy are we? I mean, how long can we live just being aware of our sin, being bothered by our sin, but never being motivated enough to deal with it? We just tolerate it, justifying ourselves by comparing our sins to someone else’s and deeming ourselves worthy by human standards.

I never want to be content with “driving around with crumbs, sand and iced coffee.” I think that sometimes it takes a level of desperation, an incident that breaks you, a major spill, a loss or a breakdown to come face to face with the reality of our desperate need of a Savior. It isn’t until we are completely disgusted, dissatisfied or desperate that we will deal with our sin.

While I hope that you never have to reach a moment like that in your life, I pray that if it does come, that you will embrace the opportunity to face your filth and allow the Master Cleaner to scrub, wash, and bathe you in His infinite love and tender care.

The funny thing is, now I want to maintain the cleanliness of my car. I don’t want to drive around with all that filth. I think it’s the same with my life, really. What about you?

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give thanks now.

that’s not a demand.  its more a strong suggestion.

while i have already written a post about being thankful, that was a typical, thanksgiving-related entry.  my pastor in nj used to preach a similar message every third weekend in november, and his punch line was something along the lines of, “we should cultivate an attitude of thankfulness always.  it’s not thanksgiving, it’s thanks-living!”  i have heard it multiple times, yet only as i sat down to write this now, has it sunken in.

during this transition phase of my life, i have been reminiscing about my past.  i am reliving the memories of warm summers in ocean grove, monday night dinners with my sister, weekends spent lazily with my family, and the sweet familiarities of my oldest friends.  i’m also looking forward to my future, asking “what is it gonna be like when…?!” or, “i can’t wait until…”

but i got convicted this weekend.  in my homesickness and my desire to grab the remote from God’s hand and push rewind or fast forward, i am missing now.  i’ve done this same thing at least once before, when i was studying abroad in florence.  i don’t want to miss now because where i am is now.  so i am thankful for now.

don’t get too hung up on the past or daydream too vividly about the future that you miss the work that is happening all around you right now.  give thanks now!

“give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” -1 Thess 5:18