Archive for November, 2010

You Don’t Know Me, But I Know You

You don’t know me, but I know you.

I’m the one who changes your toilet paper roll.

You may be shocked to know that. You thought perhaps it was your thoughtful husband, or your attentive children. It is not. They have no idea that there is an actual device inserted into the toilet paper roll—much less do they have the inclination to change it. They believe toilet paper magically floats in the bathroom like candlesticks at Hogwart’s.

But, it’s really me. Everywhere I go, there is toilet paper that needs to be changed. There is always my bathroom. The dispenser is always empty. Recently, I went to visit my grad-school-daughter, and when I entered her bathroom after my 5-hour-car ride, of course, the paper needed changing. Arriving home after my 3-day-trip, there was a roll out, but not in the dispenser. Sometimes, I have to visit our main bath to retrieve said paper, only to find that I need to replace that paper, too.

It’s really okay. I consider myself the TP Goodwill Ambassador. Because of my noble work, there are not conversations like this all over America:

“Hey!” Wife says with great fervor, “Don’t you ever even think of hanging the toilet paper on the toilet paper roll!”

Long silence, followed by a faraway male voice. “You mean it hangs onto something?”

Now you hear the sound of doors slamming.

Today, I’m writing at Barnes and Noble. I made a visit to the ladies room and of course, the mechanical paper holder was empty. Being the resourceful TP Goodwill Ambassador, I pushed some magic button, and voila, the rolls shifted.

My work is important. Kind of like Santa. No, I don’t come down the chimney since I live in Florida. That wouldn’t be practical.

Here is what is practical. Leaving me cookies. Changing all those TP rolls is exhausting. Instead of by the fireplace, please put them in the, err, um,…kitchen.

A Caring Life—Thursday’s Thoughts

I saw Mike at the back of the sanctuary and pushed through my church family to greet him. He looked ill.

“Hey, Mike. How was the Nigeria trip?” Mike is involved with an international college ministry that plants churches in other countries.

He paused before speaking. “The first part of the trip went well. It was a great blessing.” His gaze shifted as if he were struggling with words. “The second half of the trip was sobering. A few of us remained and visited believers in a more remote, dangerous area. When we arrived, huts still smoldered. Islamic extremists had been there only hours before. They’d set the homes on fire, and then when precious believers ran outside, they were either shot or injured with machetes.”

This was not your typical Sunday after-church conversation.

“Seven Christians died. Many were wounded. We visited two children in the hospital, which looked more like a hut with dirt floors. A 12-year-old girl was shot in her left leg.”

He crossed his arms, as tears welled in his eyes. “We share in the sufferings of these brothers and sisters in Christ! Like I said, it is sobering.”

I went home to football and fried chicken—they suffered in the smoldering remains of their homes. It was hard for me to imagine from my American, middle-class, worldview.

Do I really suffer with them? The apostle Paul speaks of this in I Corinthians 12: 26-27, “And if one member suffers all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.”

It seems to me that as believers, we are all caregivers. We care by serving where God has placed us—serving our family and those in our local church body. We serve by caring for those who are part of the body of Christ who hurt all over the world. We care by sending His representatives to them. We care by going ourselves, or like I did this morning and will continue to do all day—praying for them. We can all do that.

Christ’s life was a life of compassion. A caring life. That’s the kind of life I want to lead.

For more information go to their website: