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Saturday, March 5, 2016
On Instagram, I follow ReThink Church, one of their catchphrases is "We think it's important to live our faith both inside and outside the church walls, serving our neighbors and those around the world." On Fat Tuesday, they posted a photo-a-day Lent challenge; each day has a word associated with it and you're supposed to post a picture and explain what it means to you. I've been faithful and haven't missed a day. Each morning I look at the word of the day, ponder and pray about it, then watch through the day for the right picture to go along with the word. Today I was confronted with the word "endure" and I had no idea how I would capture it. I looked up the word endure with my handy-dandy cell phone and this is what Google shared with me:
I felt that really didn't give me much to work with. So I got up and got my Saturday going which meant full speed ahead much like any other day (Have you ever heard the saying, "You never know what someone is going through. Be kind. Always."?) . Handsome was heading out for a day with the guys working on a truck or something-he needed a cooler, ice brick, fruit, etc. for a lunch, Jessica had to be taken to shooting sports, I had to go to the pharmacy-drop and fill a prescription since I had a family member in the emergency room until almost midnight last night, etc. It's funny when I dropped Jessica a sweet friend stuck her head in my window to say "hi" and instead asked me what was wrong, just one look was all it took for her to know I'd already had a rough day. I smiled and explained a bit...she wished me well like a good friend who understands does. Jessica and her stuff hopped out of the car. I then headed off on my way, dropped the prescription and was picking up doughnuts for a Saturday morning treat for my folks when Jessica called because she'd forgotten her glasses so home I went to get the glasses to take back out to the Quail barn to turn back around and head to the store to get the medicine. I finally got home looking forward to a strong cup of coffee and while it was brewing I checked my email. The subject looked positive and full of hope but when I clicked it was dark and hateful. I ugly cried. I really, really ugly cried. I curled up on my bed and cried some more. Then I pulled myself together and headed to pick up Jessica. That sweet girl can brighten any day!
Like a good mom I took her to get a movie from the Redbox and lunch at Taco Bell. We got home and I headed out for some sunshine and dirt therapy. It was there that peace came, not just because I had sobbed it all out but a real peace. An understanding and a realization of a blog that needed to be written. As I worked in my little square foot garden to pull out some pesky weeds using my new, shiny garden tool I came across a pecan buried in the dirt. To pseudo-quote my favorite move, "there's a pecan in the garden that ain't got no business being there," was what actually went through my mind, I think I could actually hear Morgan Freeman uttering the words. Maybe it was his role playing God that got me to thinking about that pecan in comparison with the "A Little Hope" pecan tree growing a stones throw away. What would that pecan have to "endure" to become a mighty 100' tree that the one in my yard aspires to become?
Again, I turned to handy Google for the answer. I encountered some really technical stuff about "dry storage" and "the pecan must be buried in loose soil and moistened enough for the enzymes to be stimulated for 1-2 weeks..." Have you ever had a pecan tree? My grandparents had pecan trees, my parents had pecan trees and we've got one just a few years old that is heading toward maturity. One of the things I learned is not every year is a nut producing year. The conditions have to be just right-cold, warmth, rain, birds, bagworms, etc. so when we get those nuts if we want the seeds to become trees "man" has to do certain things or it just won't work. But God, He can work miracles with a few of His magnificent creatures-squirrels and birds, and the weather-dryness, moisture, cold and heat through HIM have the ability to come together to create a mighty tree.
I'm not sure where the pecan in my garden came from, a bird could have carried it from some tree across town to the family of squirrels that lives across the street to find and bury in the soft soil of my garden hoping to come back to it for a mid-winter snack. That single pecan in my garden interrupted my time talking to God as He said, "listen."
So I listened and I heard birds chirping, the wind through the pine trees, my neighbor replacing his front windows, another neighbor running his air compressor, the children across the street playing annd laughing. I began to hear the message that we all live and work together whether it's a marriage, a family, a book club, a job, a church, a ladies organization-in any of these situations we are in a "facultative symbiatic relationship," meaning we are together BY CHOICE. These relationships should also be "mutualistic" meaning the relationship is BENEFICIAL TO ALL parties/members. Let that sink in for just a minute, okay? In these situations I've mentioned we are together by choice in a relationship that should be beneficial to all. But is it? These relationships are not give-give or take-take, they are give-take and we have to work together with honesty and respect. We must respect one another enough to be honest when we are hurt or disagree and work to resolve not just hold it inside and allow it to destroy us. It's so easy to get caught so up in our own agenda/feelings/hurt that we forget that we are in a relationship BY CHOICE and that it should be BENEFICIAL TO ALL. I had prayed, I had listened and now it's time for some discernment.
Do I respond with the same "tongue" I was dealt? Do I try to defend myself? Do I act like nothing has happened? So I grabbed my bible and sought advice. Here is what I was met with Matthew 7:1-5 "Don't judge, so that you won't be judged. You'll receive the same judgement you give. Whatever you deal out will be dealt out to you..." which goes so well with Jesus telling Peter later in Matthew that the number of times we forgive is not to be counted. Unlimited forgiveness. I choose forgiveness, total and complete forgiveness.
Forgiveness is one of God's magnificent creations that allows us to endure any circumstance. I think I found my picture for today.