I’m feeling lazy today, like I just want to sit here with my coffee and listen to summer coming on. Summer is the season for laziness, isn’t it? The neighborhood pool is open, the shade trees are full and picnic-ready, and the birds are singing to each other.
Man of the House has been diligently working on our flowerbeds, redoing the stone around each one. We were very blessed to move into a beautifully landscaped yard. Most of the plants are succulents, too, so we haven’t had to worry about upkeep too much. The trees in the backyard are out on the edge of the property, which gives us a big empty yard full of grass for the kids and dogs to enjoy.
As beautiful as it looks from the road, up close we found some issues that needed attention. The felt liner under the ground cover was torn and showing through in all four beds and around the side yards. There were weeds amongst the ground cover and areas that had once had clean edges were now a mix of weeds, grass, and ground cover. The hostas needed thinning, as well as the irises. Missouri rock that was once a stone path for rain run-off needed to be bulked up. English Ivy had taken over one corner of the house, which looks beautiful but can bring unwanted guests and hide any problems that need attention in that area.
Oh so diligently and purposeful, Man of the House made his plan and has worked on it a little each weekend as he can. We’ve also received a little help from some of “our kids,” which is more than appreciated. People walk by and remark how nice it looks, even though it was so pretty before.
I think sometimes in life we have this same experience. We go along daily, doing our thing, whatever that may be. We take care of ourselves, we engage in our community, we take care of our responsibilities. People might praise us and tell us how great we are doing and how nice our life looks. We take pride in our accomplishments, as we should. We get busy in doing the big stuff and forget the maintenance involved in keeping up with the little things. Attitudes creep in and we may become hardened to the soft answer. A closer look would take time, and that is a commodity we just don’t have in abundance.
And so, as we found with our yard, the “moles” come in. First just one mole, maybe someone said something negative about a project you helped with at work, and you decide you aren’t going to try that hard next time just to be criticized. That mole tells his friends, and soon you have a “mole party” in your yard. You begin to see everything at work through that first offense and now everything at work looks criticized and you begin to gossip about the motives of your bosses or coworkers. You realize you may have a poor attitude so you decide to look for the good and just do your best. However, you still harbor those feelings of criticism deep inside. You fight the complacency that wants to set in until you just can’t fight it anymore. The situation has become too overwhelming.
We treated the mole problem in our yard with a home remedy that seemed to work for a few weeks. But then, Mr. Mole and his friends came by, just to check on things, and found that the yard was yummy once again. Someone in your community or family asks a question and that insecurity comes rising up in you and feels criticized once again. Only now, you feel worse than you did before because you never really took care of the issue the first time. You only delayed correction.
We had to get a professional involved. He was kind not to laugh when I told him of the home remedy we tried. He acknowledged that it could work in some instances, but we had evidence of twelve or more moles tearing up our yard. (I know, right!) They were having way too much fun at our expense. I had visions of them all coming out in the dark of night and snickering at us as they dug new trenches for us to find in the morning. Perhaps they even sat around the fire pit and put their feet up.
The professional mole guy finished his treatment yesterday. Now the moles just have to take the bait, all the while snickering at us, until they find they can’t make it back home. Muahaha! And that, Mr. Mole, is the circle of life.
In life, we must ask for help as the deep hurt that sin or something someone has said or done continues to haunt us. Many times, we may even have to pay a professional to do the deep, hard work with us.
What I have found that is a much less expensive solution is to keep up with the gardening daily. Pull a weed when I see it instead of thinking I will do it later. The first sign of a mole and the pro is called in. If I read my Bible intentionally each day, talk to God and admit that I need His help and expertise, I can usually fend off the weeds of bad attitudes and wearing my emotions on my sleeve. With His Word in my heart, I see things differently. With God’s grace as an example, I am more prepared to give grace to others.
It’s a matter of diligence. Due diligence. Stay ahead of the weeds and moles and look at your bad attitudes and say, “Be gone! In the name of Jesus, you are not a part of MY circle of life!”