The Lesson That Just Won't Quit

Once upon a time, there was a family with a nice backyard. It was at the bottom of a cliff and it always seemed to have weeds in it and there were always toys left out, but it was nice nonetheless. The four little children loved to spend hours with their friends playing on the swingset, in the little playhouse, and on the see saw.

And then one day the playground was found to be full of mushy, stinky sewage and the backyard died.

The end.

 Hopefully that's not really the end, but it feels like it right now. All I want is a backyard for my children to play in! Because there are times when I need them to leave the house. Like today. (Started writing this on Labor Day. Got a little distracted.)

So, in honor of Labor Day and in an effort to take one tiny baby step toward solving our first world backyard problems, we did a little manual labor Saturday. Last weekend, we were living it up in Chattanooga with the brother and sister-in-law and without the kids. This weekend, we were working like dogs. Very hot and sweaty dogs. My, how things can change in a week.

This summer has been lovely and mild. There have been many days that made you think autumn was already here. Except for this weekend. It felt like summer. So we thought: What better time to carry lots of large landscaping blocks and bucketfuls of pea gravel up a 60° slope? In doing so, I got to thinking, and I came away with a few observations and insights on life. And now, to your delight, I'm going to share them with you so that you can have all the enlightenment with none of the blood, sweat, and tears.

You're welcome.

1. I would not have made it as a Hebrew slave in Egypt.

2. I would not make it as a ditch digger.

3. I am proud of my kids. Or at least I was at the moment when I went back in the house for some much needed something...such as water...and found Jack doing his reading homework (Maddie had set the timer for him) and Maddie reading a book to Sam and Luke on the couch. They informed me that next on the agenda was a game. Apparently they all agreed on one and then played it together without anyone crying. Miraculous. Things went downhill after that.

4. I am completely fine with being the weaker partner. I will admit that I can only carry one heavy block to his two and that I couldn't carry a 5-gallon bucket full of gravel up that hill if my life depended on it. I also clearly need more water and air conditioning breaks. There are perks to being a girl.

5. Sometimes being my husband's helper means literally helping him do manly work, even though I already had plans of my own that involved paying bills while sitting down in a nicely cooled house. Surprisingly, when I listen to that still, small voice and do something to help my husband (even something that I really don't want to do), I sometimes find unexpected joy.

6. I'm thankful to have a hard-working husband who can carry heavy things.

7. There is no need for me to spend money at Crossfit when I can get the workout of a lifetime in my backyard for free.

8. There is something satisfying about hard work. And there is something heavenly about taking a cool shower and sitting down for a few minutes when you're done.

9. The Saga of the Backyard...and our yard in general as this has been a summer with no time for Big Strong Husband to cut the yard and now no working lawnmower to boot...has been slowly, agonizingly teaching me a lesson. A lesson I've shared with you many times before, but that the Lord is having to refine in me time and again.

This stuff doesn't matter. A neighborhood full of people who may or may not be scoffing at the mess your yard is and will continue to be is not a big deal. Are you seeking to please Me? Are you spending your time and resources on eternal things? If so, don't worry about the yard. Maybe I'll give you a perfectly manicured one in heaven. Or maybe you just won't care anymore, because you'll have what matters.

So, I will continue to send silent, apologetic thoughts in my neighbors' direction and I will continue to exercise patience while striving for a thankful, eternal attitude. And hopefully, one day, the backyard will return to a smidgen of its former glory.

And if any of you are bored or in need of a good workout or are just ready to get this ridiculous problem solved so you can quit reading about my sewage, I can give you my address.


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