Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Welcome to THE JUNGLE!

I've learned a lesson or two from what I've been calling "The Jungle Project".  The Jungle to which I refer is our pizza-slice-shaped yard.  The "crust" of the pizza being the street that gently curves around the front of our home with the "first-bite" piece of the pizza at the very back of the backyard.  Our little "slice of heaven" is situated on a hill that tilts down from the tip of the triangle to the lowest point at the street.  If you were to look out of the windows into the backyard, you would be looking at
(That mega-stump is what remains from last year's Jungle Project!)
You would also be looking at this...

Behold, "THE JUNGLE".  It was a problem.  It was ugly.  It was overgrown.  It ate baseballs...

It made mowing difficult (or so I'm told).  It generously shared poison ivy or oak or what ever it is that seeps through one's clothing and causes insanely itchy red welts.  IT HAD TO GO! 

My Man called in help, promising a decent lunch in return for what would be an amazing amount of work.  We welcomed Pappa, who always appears when there is hard work to do...
and Mr. Rick, who had previously been in The Jungle and showed up again anyway.

The crew quickly got down to business and with a chain saw or two...

made quick work of The Jungle.  
Soon progress could be noted.

Good Bye Jungle! 

Hello lesson.
In the pew this Sunday, I was thinking about that out-of-control Jungle and how its example so easily lends itself to my life.  Here's what I know...

I did not want The Jungle to be cut down.  I just didn't.  It has been there for a long time and I was used to it.  It wasn't bothering me.  I was comfy behind it's thick intertwined branches and vines.  I thought a better way to fix it was just to "tend to it" by cutting back the worst parts of it, those that hung out the furthest and stuck out the tallest.  My Man insisted that the entire fence line had to go, however, and since I wanted credit for submitting (does it count if you submit externally but not with the heart?? Probably not, considering the One keeping score.) I acquiesced.  

Isn't that how I am about the sin in my life?  I don't want to part with "Activity A" or "Thoughts on Subject Z" or "My Rights Regarding Episode #4".  I don't necessarily want to do anything about my disobedience in thought or deed, after all, it's not bothering me.  Those ponderings about "My Rights" and "My Thoughts" are what my mind wants to cozy up to when I am distressed or tired or have nothing more productive to think about.  Though I am used to thinking and doing these activities, sometimes I feel convicted about them.  When that happens, I'm willing to trim out the worst offenders, the ones that stick out the furthest, the things that might be visible to others if they were to catch me in a weak moment.  

Yet tending to my sin so that it looks prettier and more under control (who's control?) is really not sufficient.  My God insists that I turn completely from my sins, even the well tended ones.  He whispers in my ear that if my heart is full of Him and His Word, my mind can dwell on finer things.  He insists that I set my mind on things above where the finer things are, not here below in a world filled with sin's consequences (poison ivy, anyone?).  

Here's what else I know:  Sometimes, I need help getting rid of the Jungle in my life.  There's something to be said for having a friends and family on whom you can call when you are in poison up to your chin!  It is always difficult to ask for help, but wisdom lies in doing the tough things.  

You know what else?  I don't like the new view into my neighbor's yard.  I happen to know that my neighbor is not terribly thrilled with the new look either.  I feel a bit exposed these days when I venture out to the backyard, much like one feels when her hair has been cut way too short the day before a big event.  I can see a lot more of my neighbors now and they can certainly see more of me. What are they seeing?  Christ in me, the hope of glory? Or are they seeing ME, ME, ME the glorification of my rights, my issues, my selfish needs?  

My Man has been treating the remains of The Jungle with weed and root killer to ensure that The Jungle does not reappear.  Soon, he plans to do some planting along the fence line where The Jungle used to reign.  I am confident that whatever he plants will have been well-studied and its growth potential considered as well as its proclivity to foster the growth of poison ivy.  Seems he understood all along that in order foster beauty, the ugliness had to be totally removed lest it spring up and choke out the loveliness that the planter originally intended.  

Wonder where he learned that??

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 
~Philippians 4:8~


Sudeana said...

Thank you so much, today in those quiet moments I shall ponder my own poison ivy issues. (Perhaps we won't have too many quiet moments - one can only take so much weed killer a day :@)

G'ma suz said...

scratch, scratch. . .AMEN and thank you (on my way to get some Cali"mind" lotion!) Love, MOM

Becky said...

Thank you for sharing lesson learned. PS Your yard looks a lot bigger now!

Rick said...

Beautifully written. God provides lessons in the unlikeliest of places.

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