There is a lady who walks through our neighborhood. Her shirt is always a bright, cheerful color. Her skin radiant with an outdoorsy tan. Her hair is a striking, proud silver. Her step is quick and sure. Her demeanor, cheerful and pleasant.
Yesterday, my man/child was pleased to edge the sidewalk and driveway for me. Then he went on to brave the roofline and blow out the valleys …. dust off the ridges …. cleanse the plateaus. The hour got late, the sun began to set and we decided to wait until the morn to clean up the mess.
This morn, I pull out the rake, blower and bucket of gardening utensils and begin the prep work. I dig weeds and stray grass out of the sidewalk that were missed by the edger blade. I blow the dregs of grass and dirt out of the newly cut ravine between the sidewalk and grassline. I rake the big debris – sticks, pine cones, sweet gum balls – from parts of the yard. I rake them off established grass, move them from fresh sprigs in sparsely green areas and I pick them from pine straw islands. And then I move the cars to the street so that I can efficiently blow off the driveway.
As I get out of the car, the walker comes by, swinging her arms in her hot pink tank top and merrily states, “Looks like you’re about to pull off a big job!” She chuckles and continues by briskly. I look around and said, “Just maintenance, ya know?”
My mind immediately went to the spiritual/physical parallel.
And my thoughts began to wander ….
how simple maintenance can give the illusion of a big job
how a daily job can often take time and tools
how a healthy, vibrant, beautiful yard takes investment of time and energy.
And I think of relationships of a
parent and child
Savior and follower
They all take work. They all require time, tools and energy to be
healthy, vibrant and strong.
sin …. dirt …. lies …. deceit block us from friends, neighbors, children, family and Savior.
They will block nourishment until that relationship dies.
They promote a dampness that brings decay.
They block light that keeps us healthy and growing.
And even after the job is complete,
some irritating new dribble will fall onto your recently cleaned area
and begin to mess it up again.
We live in a fallen world. Messes happen. It’s just part of life.
The key is to keep things cleaned up …. relationships and roof lines.
In the same way that companies
set aside money and time to
send workers off to
local, national and worldwide conferences,
we should take the time to make retreats for our relationships.
Whether a friendship, a marriage or a family,
relationships need trust
and take time, tools, and energy
and daily maintenance.
Then there are also those retreats
that look like a “very big job”
… but are intrinsic
to a thriving, vibrant, sturdy relationship.
What does maintenance look like for the relationships in your life?
Is it daily? Weekly? Do you have annual relationship focus, as well?