Open up!

From “The Lizard Lounge” Series on Clay

Below is the next installment about do-it-yourselfing I’m calling “The Lizard Lounge Series on Clay.” Here is a link to the first one, Old Jockey Shorts, if you’re just tuning in.

Who knew my earthly home could teach me so much about the journey toward my heavenly one…?

• • •

Sliding glass patios doors – who thought these marvels of engineering up? (“marvels of engineering” – I jest.) If you have sliding doors and love them, then just stop reading right now. It’s about to get ugly.

When I moved into the Lizard Lounge, sliding glass doors were the primary method of egress from the kitchen to the back porch and, subsequently, to the carport, where the groceries typically ended their journey from the store. Now reverse that process – trunk, groceries, back porch, kitchen via heavy, stubborn sliding glass doors – and therein lies the rub. Ever try to open a heavy, stubborn sliding door with hands full of grocery bags and a watermelon? Can’t be done – at least not without cussin’.

Poor sliding door – and poor anybody who tried to open and close it. And no amount of slicky stuff squirted or sprayed in the sliding track made that chore any easier, either – all that goop just tended to gather a lot of fuzz and dirt and get all gloppy and taunt me when I tried to vacuum it out. (I used to blame the dogs for all the lint and wads of fur in the house, but now that they’re both gone and there are no fewer of those golf ball-sized balls of fluff, I realize it was me all along, with my Sasquatch-ian propensity for hirsutism. I’ll have to apologize to Rosie and Hardy when I see them in Heaven… “Kids, it was daddy – he was the one shedding.”)

Although the case could be made that wrestling the door open and shut was a great workout for my back and biceps, it totally wreaked havoc with my electric bill. Those doors were about as airtight as a bag of oranges. (Wha..? Oh you know – they come in those open-weave mesh bags.) Even new sliding doors aren’t known for their energy efficiency; and since these were anything but new, I may as well have just flung them wide open and offered to air condition the whole neighborhood.

Reminds me of a verse from the book of Revelation:

I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength… Revelation 3:8 NIV

Can I get an amen?

The worst thing, though, was the lack of security. None of the latches worked and the only way to secure them was through a sketchy assortment of security bars and pins inserted in and around the frame. Rather than undo all that stuff to slide them open each time I wanted to go out to the carport, I eventually found it easier to just go out the front door and walk around to the back of the house. (That’s actually not very far, since my house is about as big as a bread box, but still – it was annoying.)

Those sliding doors were the bane of my home-ownership joy for the [none-a ya bizness] years I lived with them.

So after many years of pushing, pulling, tugging, lubricating, greasing, wedging, scotching and, in effect, pushing tens and twenties out through the crack between the door and the frame, I finally broke down and purchased new French-style doors – including the installation – from my local home improvement store.

To begin the whole “from slider to tighter” process, the store sent a nice young guy named Jeremy out to measure the opening so as to be sure the custom-made door unit would fit properly. He also tested the area surrounding the old door for any trace of lead-based paint (yikes!) which, thankfully, it didn’t test positive for. The extra labor and expense that would have resulted had there been any trace of lead paint would have made the project unaffordable. (Jeremy vows it’s a racket. I liked that kid.)

After a couple of weeks, he picked up the door from the store and arrived ready to do the installation – which he completed in just a few hours (with no assistance from me, I might add, except for plying him with ice water to keep him alive in the heat). He had the old slider and frame taken out and 8-feet worth of brand new, custom-built French-style doors and side lights installed, leveled, shimmed, and trimmed before I knew it.

And I must say, he did a bang-up job. The doors look great, are air-tight, are double-locked, and open and close with the greatest of ease. I merely have to walk by them at a moderate pace when they’re open and the breeze from my wake will actually blow them shut tout de suite. And a single finger or a little well-aimed hip action applied to the levered door handle will open them right back up again. I can make my way out to the grill with both hands full of chicken or skewers of shrimp and leave nary a barbecue sauce paw print anywhere.

Some of the best money I ever spent.

If I’m totally honest, though (and I am, except when answering the question “Does this dress make me look fat?” The answer is always “no.”) when all was said and done, I had a bit of a mixed reaction: I was totally satisfied and happy with the new doors, but I was a little miffed at myself for waiting so long to make the change.

All I had to do was go to the store, point to the one I wanted, grunt, and plunk down a credit card – Jeremy did the rest. Why did it take [none-a ya bizness] years to do that? If I knew why, I could be the new Dr. Phil.

Do you ever do that? Not pretend to be Dr. Phil, but put off doing something you know you need to do? I confess I do it way too often. Maybe it’s hesitating to talk to someone about their relationship with the Lord when He has clearly put them in my path or failing to make something right with someone I’ve wronged.

A couple Sundays ago, my pastor preached a sermon on God’s timing. He said that it’s important that we avoid procrastinating by obeying God too late, because that’s the same as deliberate disobedience.

OK – that hurt. (Why can’t he preach on tithing like other preachers? I got that down.)

He also said that salvation is the one thing we absolutely cannot wait on. I love hearing him say that now, but five years ago I was lost as the proverbial goose and would have tuned him out.

I waited to surrender my life to Jesus for over five decades. I mean, it’s one thing to put off having a new door put in your kitchen, but it’s another thing altogether to risk spending eternity apart from God.

Although the Lord was unfathomably patient with my thumbing my nose at Him for all those years, Paul doesn’t mince words about our playing around when it comes to salvation. He says:

NOW is the day of salvation. 2 Corinthians, 6:2 NIV (emphasis mine)

Not next year or next month or next week or even next time you’re in church – NOW. I stood in church and felt the Holy Spirit urging me to surrender my life to the Lord so strongly it almost made me nauseous, but I still walked out of there lost and put it off for four more days. When I look back now, I shudder to think how close I came to possibly blowing my last chance at salvation. I could have gotten run over by a bus or struck by lightning between Sunday and Thursday. Just “Whew!” and “Thank you, God, for not closing that door,” both at the same time.

Speaking of doors (which we have been), Jesus said in order to be saved, all I had to do was…

“…knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7 NIV

It sounds so simple – and it is – but in those last few days leading up to my salvation, I had the worst time getting my arms around the simplicity of God’s gift of grace. Those ever-present forces of evil had me paralyzed with their lies. In effect, they had me convinced that that door was totally locked to me, that I wouldn’t know the secret knock, or be able to say the password correctly, or that I would knock and no one would be there.

Again – have you ever done that? Maybe even recently? Then I have good news.

As it turns out, those evil forces guys were all wrong (duh – they’re not known for their truthiness): the only password I had to know was “I believe” and the secret knock wasn’t secret at all. Oh, and there was a door prize: a previously unimagined life full of joy and fellowship with God here on Earth and an eternal one spent in His presence after that. (That’s way better than getting that big over-sized check from Ed McMahan after winning the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes.)

God didn’t want to make the way to salvation hard, like opening that old sliding door. He wanted it to be something anyone could understand and do, like opening this new door that Jeremy installed for me – something that could be done with one finger or a little well-aimed hip action. (OK – maybe that’s not a good analogy, but you get my point.)

Knock and believe – simple as that. And the result? Just like the Lizard Lounge, the new me is now airtight and secure.

And not a day goes by that I don’t thank the Lord for that.

• • •

So – do you have your salvation nailed down? As my pastor says after every sermon, “Do you know that you know that you know that, if you died tonight, you would go to Heaven?”

Do you? There’s a link at the top of this web page right under the word “CLAY” named FREE. Click that to find out more. Not next year or next month or next week or even next time you’re in church. Remember what Paul said:

NOW is the day of salvation. 2 Corinthians, 6:2 NIV (again, emphasis mine)

Don’t wait – you never know if there’s a bus tire or a bolt of lightning with your name on it.

NOW…

5 thoughts on “Open up!

  1. I’m sure God considers you a treasure in His Kingdom! Thanks for sharing your life in such a way that one has to read until the writing ends…so much to learn from the Lizard Lounge sagas.

  2. Another fine read my brother. Like the lady stated, you grasp our attention until the end. I love the way you set it up each time. Someone who may not be saved and never would read a “Christian” blog, would be reading right along and WHAM, they realize this is one of them dadgum Christian blogs. Lol. You have got this down to a science….Christian science, of course. Sharing on my Facebook page as usual. I look forward to each one of your series writings. Love you and glad we both opened the right door.

  3. Hey my brother; I had already commented, but not sure if it came through. So, I’ll just be short. AWESOME READ.
    I love and appreciate how a reader, who may not normally read a “Christian” blog, has read (and is hooked) 3/4 of the story before realizing this is one of the there “Christian” blogs. Lol. HOOK, LINE and SINNER, STINKER, I mean, SINKER. Job well done. Okay, that’s my short version. Love you and proud we both took the right door.

    • Hey, my brother — I got both of your comments and are adding both (’cause they’re good). I’m glad we both opened the right door, too. Love you, too, and hope to see you again one day.

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