Ever since reading in the Gospel, Jesus reminding us to seek and store up the riches that "matter to God," the joy of discerning what matters to Him in daily life, abounds!
Now, do kitchen cabinets matter to God?
Here's the scenario. I have been working for nearly two years on a kitchen for this hermitage. My personal standard, bequeathed to me by my spiritual father years ago and inspired to him by God, remains: Omnia pro Deo! All for God! Over time, of course, Jesus' Words, "Remain in My Love," uphold the standard. Do all for God while remaining in His Love.
There have been some quality issues with some of the cabinets. Nearly 11 months ago, this nothing consecrated Catholic hermit brought the list of problems to D (the kind, Christian, cabinet employee) at Lowe's. First, the cabinet factory rep's dad was in the hospital; D felt he needed to wait and consult with him over the list of fixable issues. This hermit waited and promised prayers for the rep's dad.
A couple months later, the excuse (probably a good one for a reasonable amount of time off-job) was that the rep had broken his ankle. Oh, all right. So this hermit waited and promised prayers for the rep's ankle to heal. Then a couple months later it was that the rep's dad had taken ill again. Oh, my, that is not good. But this hermit pointed out that surely the rep would be back at work. We all have illnesses, family personal traumas, and still do our daily duties.
Then after months of various excuses and delays, according to D the employee who also seemed to be in a terrible hurry anytime this hermit would try to discuss the cabinet issues with him and ask for timely resolutions--another cabinet issue occurred. This time it had to do with a cabinet C had ordered that is above the range and under which the microwave is to be mounted.
Finally the hermit had a generous offer from a long-time friend who happened to be visiting with her husband for a few weeks, in the area. She offered that David would come and install the microwave. The hermit had waited patiently for months and months, for someone to help with this task! God provides!
When the microwave was mounted, we realized the cabinet above was far too short. The microwave thus was at an unsafe height--not code and dangerous for removing hot items. Too high up. So the hermit contacted Lowe's; D was out on vacation. The other cabinet employee said it must have been D's oversight and could order another cabinet of the proper height. When D returned from vacation, this hermit requested this correction.
But for the next several months, D would either say he would order the cabinet, or at other times say he had to talk it over with the rep to figure out the matter. The hermit always included the other cabinet issues that had lain fallow and forgotten, seemingly, other than when brought forth before the cabinet employee. The hermit even contacted the store manager, requesting he contact the factory rep, or the factory, to find out why their rep has not been able to function at his job, evidently, since before Christmas last. The manager assured that he would have D get the cabinet issues resolved.
But no. More time lapsed, more excuses given, more promises not kept. Finally, the appliance department got involved because the microwave that the hermit's friend installed, had a dent in it, right out of the box. Lowe's, of course, accepted it back and hermit bought a new one. The delivery was being held until the correct cabinet, presumably now ordered, came in.
Then the other day came a call from D, after the delivery person had informed the hermit the cabinet had indeed been ordered a couple weeks ago. D had the unfortunate news that the cabinet company no longer makes that cabinet and not in that finish, either, and that Lowe's no longer deals with that company but now has a new and different cabinet company.
Well, while it is true that God does not care about cabinets, this flabbergasted, consecrated, Catholic hermit had to laugh--and then to entertain the thought of justifiable anger. But no, with all the work yet to be done and trying to paint the house exterior, there is no purpose in wasting emotion and energy on even justifiable anger. But a phone call to the store manager was in order, for obviously D was incapable for whatever reasons, of serving the needs of his customer. The hermit had three viable solutions to what now is a more serious problem, for it pointed out how many thousands of dollars are on the Lowe's loan, being dutifully paid monthly, and the kitchen's viability in kind with the cost, is in jeopardy.
A meeting of the hermit, the cabinet manager, and D was to occur at the store. The hermit sent an email to D of the problems, the issues, and the three viable solutions, adding a fourth extreme one in case none of the others (at cost to Lowe's) would not work out. The hermit let D know that management was engaged because he had procrastinated and evidently could not solve the problems on his own, thus help from perhaps those who could make decisions and make straight the mess.
Then the hermit decided to share with D, the exercise of what matters to God. After all, he and the hermit had become friends of sorts, and spoke of our shared Christian beliefs over the course of the cabinet journey. No, the cabinets do not matter to God. But what does seem to matter to God is truth, beauty, goodness, and justice.
What matters to God from His nothing consecrated Catholic hermit is to always do its best, all for God, and also for others. While the hermit cannot afford to remain in this place after hopefully making it salable, others will live here. They deserve what is done properly and prayerfully--in truth, beauty, and goodness... and to love to learn to love God's law of Love.
The hermit has been far too patient in the cabinet journey. Apologies to D for having let him procrastinate, and now to what will be more of a problem for him and for Lowe's than had he simply ordered the cabinet months ago. As for the other cabinet issues, who knows if and when they can be addressed? And again, the cabinets do not matter to God. The process matters, and there is the all-important aspect of love that matters.
What matters to God most is love: Love of God and love of others. There is much love in the transactions with the cabinets and with D and the manager, and with R in plumbing who has taught the hermit so much about plumbing, and with J and T and R in tools who have taught the hermit so much about tools and how to use them. There is much love in the transactions with C and D and M and another two D's at the lumber yard--men who have taught this hermit much about construction and what products to purchase and how to use them to make truth, beauty, and goodness exude from this hermitage. They each and all at times have also encouraged this hermit, lovingly, to persevere despite many hardships.
Now D asks the hermit to drive a distance to bring a sample of the cabinet finish. He is at least now working on trying to solve the problem. He thinks perhaps the company with which Lowe's no longer does business, might agree to make the proper size cabinet in proper finish. This hermit is not convinced but in keeping with omnia pro Deo, is holding positive and trusting thoughts and much love. God will provide.
Of course, kept quietly in mind, is the hermit's own last-ditch solution if others choose not to follow what matters to God of truth, beauty, goodness, justice, and love of doing best and all for God. But the tangibles will not matter to God even though the back-up plan will devalue the kitchen. How does this hermit know, anyway, that maybe God sees in advance that a microwave above the stove is not what He wants? Perhaps He sees that some future occupant or even the hermit while still here, might drop something out of an over-range microwave and break the range top glass?
What matters to God in every encounter and situation and thought in every present moment of our lives, day and night, is the law of God, the law of His Will, the law of His Love. What fun it is to ask and listen, to discern and to practice, what matters to God in all of our lives, especially in our spiritual lives.
God bless His Real Presence in us!