While raking leaves this weekend I looked up at the trees around the house that I love so much and saw that even as I worked diligently, the work was just beginning.
I think our lives can be a lot like that...work hard, clean things up, and BOOM!, a little wind and it's like we can't even tell we worked at all. So we have to do it all over again...and again...and again.
But our hopes and aspirations are like the grass that grows beneath those leaves. Without our efforts, they will exist, but never truly grow. For them to thrive, we must clear the leaves...over and over. And we must be patient, because even after we have cleared all the the leaves that can fall, there is always winter before spring and we do not see the fruits of our labors in winter. But Spring will come. And growth will happen. Trust the process. Let us all not be deterred by the task or the time, rather let us be confident in the power of our rake and our knowledge of the process.
Enjoy Building the Playhouse
Sitting in my Living Room I got to thinking about what to write for this week. With the Christmas season upon us there are so many things that we think about: family, our spirituality, those less fortunate, those we love, and so on. And in the midst of think of all those things, I struck upon a memory, from this very room. It was of building a playhouse.
Many years ago on Christmas Eve, in my livingroom, I built a playhouse. It was a brutal experience. Whatever toy company that made that thing was home to some maniacal soul who designed a thousand holes that didn't line up, packets of screws that were all one screw short, and a brilliant array of plastic pieces that ALWAYS clipped your finger when snapped together. All to be impossibly done in silence while hair-pin-trigger-come-awake children sleep and a wife critiqued. I hated every second of building that thing.
Until my kids got up in the morning.
Then it was all worth it. Every swallowed word of questionable nature, every blackened fingernail, every minute of the two hours of sleep I got because of that thing. It was all worth it. And years later, when it was time for that playhouse to go, it was hard to let go. Not because of the struggle to build it, but because of what it had become to all of us and because of what I knew it had meant to our kids and to our lives. All worth it.
May we all keep building the playhouses that come into our lives. May we all see the fruits of our labors and may we all know that our exhaustion, our fatigue, and our efforts will have a Christmas morning. God bless us all. Each of us are the silent builders of a wonderful dream come true for someone. May we never forget that in our moments of struggle.
I type this having just returned from my parent's farm. While I was out there with my youngest and hanging out with my mom, she opened several of the pasture gates that allowed the horses to wander into the front yard of their house. This was always a dream of my mom's, to be able to sit on her front porch with horses grazing in the yard just feet from her. That said, I noticed uncomfortably, that the driveway gate was open. Any of the several horses loose could easily walk through this gate and begin to head toward the road. I watched to see if my mom would close this gate or ask me to, but she just chatted happily with my little one, fully aware of the gate being open.
Finally, I could take it no longer and asked her if she wanted me to shut it.
"No, why?" she replied.
"Uh, so the horses don't start wandering towards the road."
She just laughed and said, "Relax, they're not going anywhere." and went back to talking with to my daughter. And she was right, not one made a move for the open gate. They milled in the yard, but never headed towards the opening.
...and after a bit I understood why. My mom loves her animals and they love her, even the difficult ones. She doesn't need closed gates to keep them around her, she's created an environment where there is no reason to leave. If anything, the gates are there to keep what is inside, safe from what is outside, not to keep it contained.
It was a good lesson for me of what an environment should be. May we all create our own places of open gates in our lives and profession. Places where we are the reason to be seen as home base and where we need no gates to keep those we love contained.