Today, I learn that I can clean my crusty microwave by mixing 1/2 cup vinegar with 1/2 cup water and letting it boil for a few minutes inside the microwave.
I'm doubtful as I stand waiting with one arm resting on a mop and another wiping down a counter top. I don't think the website that gave these instructions has seen the inside of this microwave.
Saturday cleaning day has felt particularly somber as I remember the tsunami as well as more local news of a dear friend, Micah, who fights for his life in a hospital in California. His pneumonia became life-threatening this week, and I check my computer for updates about his condition. Micah is a young father with a beautiful wife and three children. His wife is due to have their fourth child any moment. They are close friends of ours from our previous community.
The microwave sounds its signal, and I open the door.
I can't believe it! Apparently, no old crusted thing can survive the presence of that highly acidic vinegar. I take a cloth and wipe down the inside. Not one stain resists me. The vinegar dislodges every bit of bacterial splatter.
That's what it feels like today in my own heart. The news of suffering comes into my soul with a sour sting, but it's the kind of work that purifies and refines. I suddenly know what matters. I remember what I love. I remember God's comforting presence and what I need to pray for. I take my fear and my sadness, and I let it do its complete work. The crusty stains of selfishness and materialism break apart--just a little bit more--and I become closer to God today.
Journal: What does sadness do to the soul?