As we drove home from the beach, we passed a billboard sign that read “Cleanest bathrooms on I-20”. I was so intrigued that I read the sign out loud. The boys were sleeping soundly in the back seat when Sam and I both felt the urge to “go”. We decided to take our chances and pull off the exit towards the BP that professed to have the “cleanest bathrooms on I-20”. We stopped and “went”, and once we were back into the van, I said “Well, the bathroom wasn’t the worst I’ve been in, but it sure wasn’t the “cleanest!” Then my husband chimed in…
“I didn’t think they were that bad. I have been in a lot of gas station restrooms, and I feel like I have a good grasp on what they look like. Most of the restrooms seem to be an afterthought when constructing the interior of the gas station. I can almost visualize the planning: “Oh yeah, we’re going to need a restroom… uh, we’ll just section off that closet in the corner and use it. Yeah, this will work. Put the toilet right here in front of the door, which swings into the bathroom dangerously close to the point where it may hit the person using the facility. But that’s OK; put a lock on it and a doorknob that rattles. Oh, and also make sure there is a crack just large enough between the door and the jam that from just the right angle, the person using the toilet can get enough of a view back into the gas station that they will see someone coming before they burst through the door. Good, now back to the toilet. Cram it in the corner, and take one of the bolts out of the bottom so that it rocks just a little bit if someone gets too aggressive. Also take one of the screws out of the plastic seat so that there’s about 2″ of slide to either side of the bowl, not to the point that someone may fall off, but enough that nobody gets too comfortable. Put a toilet paper dispenser on the wall beside the toilet, but it doesn’t have to work. Just put a 10” roll of toilet paper on top of the dispenser, but make sure about 24″ of paper is unrolled hanging down to the floor, slowly absorbing “floor liquid”. Now, in the other corner, put the sink. No, we don’t need a mirror or hot water. But yes, put a soap dispenser on the wall, but set it up so the first six pumps produce absolutely no soap. Finally, have an employee come in each morning and pour a bucket of water in the restroom floor, just to slick it up good and to keep people guessing!”
You see, we both had an idea or expectation of what we thought this restroom would be like. I read “cleanest” and was hopeful- expecting the best. Sam read “cleanest” and was expecting average. I was disappointed and felt like they had over-exaggerated the billboard sign. But, truth be told, this store probably did have the cleanest restrooms…I know that is a skanky thought, but let’s be real. Public restrooms are the pit!
We still had a long drive ahead of us, and I began to think about expectations. Ann Voskamp wrote in her book One Thousand Gifts, “Expectations kill relationships.” “Expectations kill relationships-especially with God.” Wow! That is so powerful I highlighted it! She is so right! How many times do we pray for something or someone, and our prayers are not answered quickly enough (ex. read Our Adoption Timeline). Or our prayers are not answered the way we had expected them to be answered (ex. read Allie’s Story). We become angry idealists and think, “What’s the use of praying if God isn’t going to answer me, OR He’s going to do what He wants to anyway? What’s the point in prayer?” Isaiah 53:5: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” He doesn’t owe us anything! He died a horrible death so that I may have eternal life in Heaven. I am the one who is in debt to Him, yet we complain when our prayers, our” expectations” fall short… “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 We can choose to be bitter and let our expectations ruin our relationship with our Heavenly Father, OR we can seek out scriptures from the living word of God and continue to pray. Trusting and knowing that God created us, loves us, and wants what is best for us, and He will answer in His time! “If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” John 14:14.
Nahum 1:7: “The Lord is good. A stronghold in the day of trouble. He knows them that trust in him.”
The restrooms of this particular BP gas station did not live up to my expectations! I could have been bitter and written ugly comments with a Sharpie marker on the bathroom wall, but instead I sucked it up like a big girl and complained to my husband! 😉