Do you know that there are unwritten public bathroom rules? Of course you do. I live in the Midwest United States and I’m guessing that the unwritten public bathroom rules vary from place to place, but some things are common in most public bathrooms.
I was in Budapest Hungary alone suffering through an unplanned layover awaiting my next flight. I was tired, lonely and uncomfortable. I hadn’t slept in more than twenty four hours and all the strange people speaking strange languages had gotten to me.
I had already walked everywhere I could through the airport. I had already “shopped” the one small Duty-Free shop that was open.
With nowhere to go that hadn’t been to already I went to the men’s room and hid in a stall.
While I sat regaining my sense of composure I found myself learning about human nature.
I had no idea what words men said to one another when they walked into the bathroom, but it was clear that they used the same awkward laughs, hushed tones and followed their shared unwritten public bathroom rules.
I wonder, where did all those rules come from?
Another Question No One Asked
Recently my friend Ellie asked a question no one had even asked me before. Ellie asked looking for an answer, “Is God ever at a loss for words too?” Read that again, “Is God ever at a loss for words too?”
Ellie’s question is a humble sincere hope-filled quest to find out if God can relate to our pain and our frustration.
I’d written a poem which describes some of the wonderings I’ve had in the middle of pain and frustration:
Does God get me?
Does God care?
Does God see me?
Is no one there?
It’s hard to know what to do when we’re frustrated. It’s hard to be patient through the pain. Life has it’s ups and downs. Trials come and go, but we don’t know when and if we’ll “make it.” It’s then that God can be maddeningly silent.
One of the profound messages of TreeHouse is “you’re not alone.” I, and thousands of others, have found comfort and assurance knowing that others have felt our feelings, had similar experiences, and can relate to us.
I believe that God is also present, able and willing to listen, and wants us to talk about our needs and wants, thoughts and feelings.
But, sadly, God is often more silent than we would prefer.
Sometimes our silence must (almost) drive God crazy too.
“Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter.“
When we’re screaming nonsense, God understands us.
When we’re pounding on walls, God understands us.
When we’re swearing about our circumstances, God understands us.
When we’re mumbling under our breath, God understands us.
It’s then that God “does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves…That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”
1 – Romans 8:22-28, MSG