Wednesday, December 29

Washing Windows--Targeting Goals

When Georgia and Neal were little I went to our pastor's house on a Saturday to help the pastor's wife wash windows. They lived on a busy city street and she had noticed the car exhaust fumes clouding up the view from their living room more and more each season, so she felt a huge desire to shine the panes.

Each of us had arranged for our husbands to watch our own kids during this quick morning clean-up job. It wasn't easy to arrange this; Phil ran his own business and often manned the carpet store on Saturdays. Her husband had the ever-looming sermon to polish by Sunday morning. Our allotted work time was of the essence.

I arrived at her home and went into the kitchen to say hi to the family. She was helping one of her kids clean up from an extended Saturday breakfast and getting him ready to be "watched" by daddy. To maximize my help to the family I started gathering the breakfast dishes and reached for the dishwashing soap and sponge to begin cleaning up a few dirty cereal bowls while I waited for her to direct our window washing.

To my surprise I heard her say, "Stop, don't do those dishes." At first I joked that I didn't mind but she said again, "No, don't start doing the dishes." With a wondering look I turned around and really paid attention to her--was she thinking I was taking over her house or was she the type of housekeeper who liked her dishes done "just so?"

Seeing my face she explained, "We're going to get started on those windows in just a minute, I don't want you to get bogged down with doing little things."

Not knowing her real well, but respecting her for what I did know, I stepped away from the sink and just waited for her to finish with her children's needs. In minutes we were outside with buckets and ladders and we worked a couple of hours shining her windows. We finished the front ones, tackled a few more on the sides, then I had to go.

Over the years I never did get close to her and our family eventually began attending another church which was nearer to our home. However, the pastor's wife lived out a truth for me that has been invaluable over all these ensuing years. Aim for and work toward accomplishing the big goal; don't get bogged down with good, but less pressing, work. The pastor's wife knew she would eventually get those breakfast dishes washed up but she only had a small "window" of opportunity to get her more pressing task accomplished. She targeted her energy, and mine, on her goal and she achieved it.