Fixing a Trash Can

Have you ever had to fix something that you didn't break? Maybe your kid broke your neighbor's window, or you're helping someone fix a car who obviously didn't take care of it, causing the problem in the first place. It's annoying, to say the least.

Yesterday, I was working on a green trash can that I borrowed from my neighbor, because we were clearing out a lot of brush from our backyard and needed the extra can. We've had it for several weeks, so I wanted to return it, but when the trash man (or woman -- no prejudice here) came, he must have dragged the can when he dropped it, causing the rubber part of one of the wheels to fall off. It doesn't roll well and I didn't want to return the long lost can damaged.

But for the life of me I could not get that stupid rubber wheel back on! I became increasingly irritated as flashbacks of a lifetime of working on cars with stuck bolts and water pumps not coming out right (my most recent job) came flooding back in a rush of anger and frustration. There was a pile of wood right next to me for the skate ramp I was building in the backyard -- a project I would have much rather been working on -- but here I was, fixing a trash can that I didn't even break, just so I could save face with my neighbor.

When emotions like this hit me, I usually get mad and throw something (maybe that's a holdover from years of skateboarding frustrations, tossing boards when I couldn't land a trick), but sometimes I'm able to step outside of myself and ask, "Why is this happening? Can I learn anything from this?" Essentially, looking for any spiritual implications or lessons applicable to make the situation, however minor, more palatable. Or, maybe even more primitively, simply asking, "God, are you in this at all? And why?!"

That's when it hit me -- this is exactly what Jesus did for me. He fixed something I broke, and it sucked for him too.

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." (Matthew 26:36-39)

Of course the scale doesn't even come close to a shadow of pretending to compare, but bear with me...Jesus was so overwhelmed by the prospect of the cross that he asked God if there was any other way to accomplish his goal. He knew what was before him, and in a very human display, tried to get out of it. Luke says he was in such anguish that "his sweat became like drops of blood."

And it was all to fix a problem that was not his fault.

How profound is that? What an example of submission to God! To borrow Max Lucado's words, no wonder they call him the Savior. Jesus is truly our perpetual example -- even when we're getting frustrated about something silly like fixing a trashcan we didn't break.