Sunday, March 30, 2014
My couch is better than your couch. I'm sorry, but it's true. We are the owners of the best. couch. ever. When we were first married we had no clue what we were doing in regards to much of anything. We thought it was normal for newlyweds to go out and buy a new couch, so that's exactly what we did. We drove ourselves down to a major furniture retailer, picked out this mammoth couch, chose the fabric, and 36 monthly payments later, she was ours. Yes, that's correct. We paid our couch off. Over three years. I told you we had no clue what we were doing. But as foolish as that was, there's no buyer's remorse here I can assure you. We had enough sense to buy something fairly simple, with clean lines and neutral fabric so it's not gone out of style or anything. But what makes this couch partiuclarly remarkable is its size. I am nearly 6 feet tall and if I sit myself all the way up against the back cushions my feet do not touch the floor. You can put a set of twin size sheets on it and it will rival any bed in our house. We have another couch, also ginormous but not quite as spectacular, that sits adjacent to the good couch. In the Winter my husband and I pile up some pillows and blankets on said couches, put on the fire, and start up Netflix with no real intention of finding our way to our actual bed that night. It is that good. When high school girls come over for bible study a couch meant for maybe four people suddenly seats eight quite comfortably, but I suppose that two freshmen girl booties might add up to one average adult booty. When I have had a particularly long day I really just want two things : an unbearably hot shower and to be swallowed up in my couch. When the kids won't eat what I fixed them, the plumbing backs up again (seriously, this has happened two months in a row and I'm pretty sure my plumber scolded me the last time he came as if I was deliberately putting mounds of hair and red thread into my pipes), the natural lighting in my car reveals a rogue facial hair, the grocery bill sky rockets because God forbid I needed to buy toiletries, or I find really old cheese stuck inside a toy train, I run, and I mean RUN, for that couch.
Have you ever heard the word couch used as a verb? So let's say a guy asks a girl out on a date. She is not at all interested but doesn't want to crush the poor guy, so rather than saying, "I would rather coupon for 30 hours a week than go out with you," she COUCHES her response a bit more delicately and simply says, "You know, I just don't think that's going to work out." By the way, am I the only one who is completely unnerved by the whole couponing labyrinth? I mean seriously, as soon as someone starts telling me about notebooks and triple coupons and manufacturer sales and rebates I become completely stupid. It's just too much. Where were we? Oh right, the couch. To couch. It means to sort of "pad" your words in a way, so that your listener hears what you want them to hear. It sounds deceptive but I don't think it was originally meant to be so. Even still, everytime I hear that phrase I just picture whatever is being described suddenly taking place on my big couch. Literal Louise over here. So yes, in the example above, I imagined the poor guy and the disinterested girl having that lovely interchange whilst sitting on my couch. Insert husband's token response, "Krisitn, you are so ridiculous." Yes, dear, and you love me for it!
I do have this little idea, though, of doing a year-long project with my kids sometime in the future called OPERATION LOVE COUCH. Allow me to explain. As we read through the Bible and try and teach our kids about Jesus there are stories that feel, well, kid-friendly, if you will. Noah and the flood. Abraham and Sarah. Jesus calms the storm. Jesus feeds five thousand. Even the cross. The kids are easily engaged and God clearly emerges as the hero. It's awesome. And then there are other stories that we read and halfway into it I hear the words coming out of my mouth and start muttering to myself, "now what, now what, now what?" For example, we are trucking along in the story of Moses and Pharoah and sure, it starts getting a little intense. Locusts. Hail. Boils for Pete's sake. And still, we are hanging in there, you know, trying to let God's Word just do its thing. And then, before I realize what's happening, I'm telling my wide-eyed four-year old that God ordered the firstborn son of every family in Egypt be killed. I read it with a light, melodic tone hoping she might not notice that what just happened. Don't misunderstand me. I knew it was coming. I know it's true. I'm not resisting that, nor am I trying to water it down. This final plague opens the door for the Passover as Jesus, the perfect sacrifice, is foreshadowed so incredibly. I get it. And still, there are parts throughout Scripture where God does things that don't appear, on a surface level, to be the sort of thing that a loving God would do. The reality is that the God of the Old Testament, the one who flooded the earth and all the was in it, the one who allowed Job to be robbed of EVERYTHING he held dear, is the SAME as the God of the New Testament, the incarnate God who walked the earth and did things that were unspeakably loving. I don't have to work hard to see God as love when He rescues the woman caught in adultery and restores her dignity. I don't have to strain to see God as loving when He brings Peter back into the fold after he denied him. But there are other parts of Scripture where it is not so easy. And yet the reality is, it is ALL COUCHED IN LOVE. Every move the Creator makes is motivated by, propelled by, and completed by Love. So that would be the goal of OPERATION LOVE COUCH. We would read through the Bible, the boring and the breathtaking parts, and we would look for how God is love in all of it. Could be great. Could be awful. I'll keep you posted.
That would be a real game-changer, though, wouldn't it? To live with quiet confidence that everything God does is couched in love. When He walks beside me, it's because He loves me. When He seems far, it's because He loves me. When he says yes to me, it's because He loves me. And when He says no, when He withholds a seemingly good things, it is because He loves. He loves me when he gives and when he takes away. When my children are wildly delightful and when they are willfully disobedient, He loves me. When there is joy overflowing, it is because he loves me, and when the grief is too acute to bear, yes, yes it is because He loves me. Going to bed tonight with that hope in mind. With the hope that God would give me eyes to see life this way. To see ALL that He does and ALL that He is as love.