Margaret stooped over to tie her worn tennis shoes, her walking away from life’s pressure’s ones, the shoes that had trekked more miles around Margaret’s property than she’d ever traveled out of her small county. Then she grabbed a quick sip of water from the faucet, took her vitamins and headed outside. All morning Margaret had toiled around the garden weeding, trimming, or just plain tidying up the exterior to her family’s farm.
The later was most certainly the most difficult. With three youngish children, a husband who loved “collecting” and a bevy of assorted dogs and cats, Margaret sometimes lamented that their yard looked as though a rag-tag bunch of gypsies dwelled there. While it didn’t bother the rest of the family to have their property littered with various plastic toys strewn hither and yon, it wore on Margaret.
She worked hard to keep the inside of their domain in top order, so why couldn’t they cooperate by cleaning up the outside each evening after dinner? Margaret sighed as her eyes traversed to her husband’s section of the yard where his “playthings” resided. She shook her head in despair, that’s why, Margaret thought ruefully, everything from old spare engine parts to somebody’s friend’s cousin’s used farm equipment has found it’s resting place in my barn…and all around it. Like husband like children.
Why fight what I can’t control? With that parting sentiment, Margaret left the children with their father, left the dogs in their kennel, and left the cats to their own mischief and took off down the road. For Margaret there was no better tonic to a stressful day than a good walk after cleaning up the kitchen once dinner was finished. It was the hour of the day that Margaret relished more than any other.
True, the road she walked was dusty and she had to be careful to avoid the potholes. Still, Margaret loved nothing better than to hear the gentle swishing of the corn on either side of her. Or in another season, the winter wheat might be blowing back and forth in rhythm with the wind. It was comforting somehow, to be in the midst of such bounty, such beauty, and realize that she had no control over what surrounded her.
As she exercised her body, Margaret felt her mind slowly unclutter and her emotions unwind. It was a lovely, daily event. Perspective seemed to come back, and Margaret’s acceptance of her family’s differences grew in proportion to her time spent on the trail.
“He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.”
Luke 16: 10
Time goes on and on, and yet I find myself continuing to wrestle with the same niggling heart issues. Seems as though the longer I live, the more I find fault in the tiniest of life’s happenings. This should not be. Why am I so driven to find perfection in every area of my life? Why this obsession to control the world in which I find myself? Am I so afraid of what others might think of me? Do I really believe that by becoming the ultimate super manager of my household and family that I will be more worthy as an individual?
I certainly do not have all the answers, but I do understand this, you love me despite what I accomplish. Maybe even in spite of my feeble, frantic efforts to get it all right. Lord, I need another lesson in resting easy in your unconditional acceptance. I want to let go of my neediness and my push-pull bents. All the day long, I’m extending one hundred and ten percent to create something lasting and beautiful in my home. And yet that for which I strive is always one step beyond me.
Things break, get stained, wear out, or fall apart, even though I’ve been diligent in my care. This is life. All my days I’ve tried to keep the pieces from falling away…and it’s only when I sit, stand, or walk silently through your creation that I see the true miracle of perfection. Lord, help me to find a place of balance. Lend me your hand, open my eyes, and let my heart rejoice, imperfections and all.
“Be willing to swap a temporary inconvenience for a permanent improvement.”
H. Jackson Brown, Jr. and Rosemary C. Brown in Life’s Little Instructions from the Bible