Thursday, February 24, 2011

Following instructions

1:51 p.m. Today's project was to combine a wedding project with buying a product to unstop our downstairs commode. Quite a juxtaposition of needs, one to enhance the bright white loveliness of accessories for our big event, while the other would enhance the usefulness of a household accessory that's generally not mentioned!

While we wandered up and down Michael's and Jo Ann's looking for just the right small tags for Heidi and Pavel's prayer tree, and may have come away with the wrong kind anyway--gotta love wedding prep!--Steve and I had no trouble finding a product to do the job at Smart &Final, a product so toxic, apparently, that it was sealed in a heavy plastic bag that had to be cut open with scissors. No need for a skull and crossbones picture on that bottle, although I think there was one. It even stated, "If you cannot understand the instructions, DO NOT USE!" We got the message!

Steve donned rubber gloves and a worn-out long-sleeved shirt, and we measured the correct amount into a Pyrex measuring cup. I stood nearby at the deep kitchen sink while he poured in the 16 ounces the product called for. In the olden days, pre-Alzheimers, my husband would have just done the whole thing in perfect safety, and I wouldn't have paid it any heed. He still handled the cup safely, and followed the directions I read to him perfectly. He poured the solution into the bowl and the 15 minute wait allowed him to peel off his gloves and wash up for lunch.

I began to notice a tiny prickling feeling on the underside of my right arm, and thought, "Uh-oh". While Steve was pouring the solution, kind of "glub-glub" style into the measuring cup, a few tiny splashes must have hit my arm. Yikes--chemical burn. So I flushed the area thoroughly with cold water and patted it dry, to reveal three small whitish, raised areas the size maybe of a tomato seed. They no longer stung, but since I've been discovering the efficacy of olive oil for my eczema and other skin irritations, I applied some from the container I keep in the kitchen with a brush handy. At this point, the spots look no different than a freckle or age mark and don't sting at all. Thank you, Lord!

After lunch, Steve flushed the solution down, but the water rose, and plunging was necessary. I made sure the plunger was set on a rag, not the tile floor. On the second trial flush, the water didn't rise quite as high, but still needed plunging. I'm not sure when we'll try it again--we'll have to see what the bottle says! Meanwhile, my warning Post-it remains on the closed door.

I realize how merciful the Lord was to keep my injury minute, but it could have been serious. Even though I followed directions to make sure Steve was gloved and covered as the handler of the solution, I neglected to put on gloves and keep my sleeves all the way down as a participant in the project! Partially following of instructions can get you hurt!

God's instructions to believers are also to be followed to the letter! Romans 15:4 says of scripture,

Whatever things were written before were written for our learning...

and 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says,

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

And we cannot forget how in I Samuel 15:10-35, the crown was taken from Saul, Israel's first king, because he only partly obeyed God in the matter of slaying every last living thing belonging to the Amalekites.

No one wants to be injured or killed because of carelessness or failure to follow instructions to the letter. But how much worse to lose the peaceful vibrancy of an obedient walk with Jesus each day! Jesus said He would give us His peace (John 16:33), and He does just that. But He makes it very clear that there is one way we can show Him our love, in John 14:15:

If you love Me, keep My commandments.

As for my forearm and whether I need to seek medical attention, I'll soon find out. The Lord "just happened" to provide a nurse as the neighbor I'm planning to give a Mary Kay catalog to later!

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