It was completely unexpected. It was not the sort of the thing you could possibly imagine would be at your front door. As my husband and I were driving out of the driveway of our house, our eyes first caught glimpse of it. It left us shocked and dumbfounded and laughing hysterically…. Someone had left a toilet at our front door. It was painted in Valentine’s Day colors with little lights tied around it. Above it was affixed a heart-shaped sign that told us to not “flush” our love away adorned with smiley faces. We had been pranked.
Now if you have never been the victim of (or the perpetrator of) a good prank, let me warn you that there are two types of “pranks” out there: the kind that are meant to embarrass and hurt others, and the kind that are meant to bring lots of laughter and uplifting of spirits. It was readily obvious to us that this prank was meant to evoke the latter response and – trust me – it did. As one of my dear friends pointed out: “who on earth put a toilet at your front door? That is so funny we can’t stop talking about it!” So true. There has been a lot of laughter over this… friends and neighbors giggling and wondering… we spent several days investigating and interrogating “the usual suspects” until finally, about a week later, the culprits admitted their guilt. It was four dear friends of ours who had gone to great lengths to make this happen – knowing that we would find great laughter and joy in such a silly little thing. Because they are our friends, they know we love to laugh. They also know that, lately, we have been in a busier-than-normal season of life and a little humor always helps to lighten the load (so to speak). They were willing to go out of their way simply for the sake of laughter… the encouraging kind… the laughter that makes you smile every time you think of it. (Are you smiling as you envision a toilet randomly sitting in front of someone’s front door? )
This recent acquiring of an additional commode at our home has given me a lot to think about by way of how we encourage people around us. (I realize these two concepts are not something you would usually see connected in the same sentence – especially when talking about encouraging another person.) The Bible tells us that we are to encourage and lift up one another (I Thessalonians 5:11). In fact, it tells us to encourage one another daily (Hebrews 3:13) which tells me this whole encouraging one another is to be a regular part of how we live our lives. Our generation lives in a time where it is easy to get bogged down with the stresses of life. Think of how many things vie for our attention at any given moment – social media (all avenues: Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Linked-In, etc.), work/school, TV, cell phones, family, friends, etc. We could add to this list, but you get the idea. I wonder if we all stopped for a minute and got outside ourselves long enough to think of those we know who might need some encouragement. Maybe the encouragement comes in something we say, or write (text, chat, whatever), or even something we do (like deliver a funny toilet to someone we know will find it hilarious). Maybe it is simply looking the person checking us out at the counter in the eyes and telling them we hope they have a good day. I think this “encouragement” thing can look a lot of different ways. Regardless of what it looks like, I just know that I want to be an encourager. I want to remind people that they are valued and that God loves them. I want them to smile.
My friends were trying to give us a good laugh and it worked. When I consider the efforts to which they had to go to make this happen to “surprise” us, I am humbled that they took the time out of their own busy schedules for the sake of making us smile. Is there someone in your life that needs to smile today? What would it look like for you to encourage them? What if we committed to encouraging at least one person every day in some small way (toilets optional)?
by His grace -
Disclaimer: please do not read this and go out and drop toilets off at people’s front doors! PLEASE! If you feel led to do that after reading this post, you have missed the point!