Just down the street from our house is a fairly large old historical cemetery. It covers a full town block and then crosses the street and there is another little patch of it on the other side. Each and every year, the instant that grass starts growing, this man is out there, pushing a push mower, trash bags at hand to rake up the excess grass so he doesn't leave clumps of grass on the cemetery lawn. From daybreak to well into the late afternoon, he is out there pushing that mower...every...single...day.
This time of year, in my own yard, the dandelions make me want to throw a temper tantrum of monumental proportions. I spent all day Monday working on my own lawn. All of that time and effort to make it look so pretty when you pull up in front of the house. It is now Wednesday morning and the dandelions have already overtaken our yard again. Insert screaming noise here......
So this hard working gentleman gets one part of the cemetery grounds looking immaculate in one days' time, then moves on to another part on day two, things are looking great. By day three, he is working on his third section, but guess what is happening in section one...yep, dandelion heaven. So no matter how hard he works, he never, ever gets to see the entire cemetery mowed and looking groomed all at once. Yet he keeps on trucking along, oblivious to everything around him, clearly taking great pride in what he does. I like to think he is a believer and he is out there doing what God called him to do to the absolute best of his ability, despite the fact that he will never see a perfect end result.
I have discovered over the past few months of muddling my way through some extremely difficult personal growth that God and The Yankee are in cahoots. Apparently God let the Yankee in on what it is He is trying to teach me (after all isn't it so very difficult to see solutions to our own problems when others can see those solutions so well?) but both God and the Yankee are allowing me to figure everything out in my own sweet time (insert the ever so slow tic-toc of a clock noise here). How very generous of them. I would be much more appreciative of neon flashing signs, having people jump out in front of me in traffic saying "Hey, are you Melissa? God told me to tell you....." Billboards...yes, that would be fantastic!!!! Anything really. But instead I struggle each day in certain areas of my life facing hurdles that I just can't seem to jump over (seriously, have you ever seen how short my legs are???). The Yankee says we all have to learn everything in our own time and even if he were to tell me what it is he thinks I need to hear, I might nod my head and listen, but until I see it for myself, it's really a nonsensical conversation to even have. And I know this to be true because years ago, a lifetime ago really, I went through the same with him.
Logically I know what I am supposed to do each and every day. My main "job" is to take care of my kids, our home, and make sure anything my husband needs is done. I am really good at those jobs AND I enjoy doing them. There is nothing else I would rather do actually. It never matters to me that our kids will never be perfect or there is only so much I can do from here to help my husband. Much like those pesky dandelions, I just keep on pruning this family and doing what it is God has called me to do.
But then there is MY health...no, no, I am not sick...blessed beyond belief to be so very healthy...only there are those two things that do make me very sick...wheat and sugar. Two ingredients that just happen to be in almost every food we consume nowadays. And the struggle to not eat them at all each and every day is a battle unto itself. I do not even get one area of this part of my life pruned before I forget exactly how sick these foods make me and I fall back into them all over again.
Last week, I had been going along pretty well, when suddenly I began craving these muffins I used to make and actually used to think were "healthy". You take a cake mix of any flavor you like and mix it with a can of pumpkin and some applesauce instead of all of the ingredients that actually go into a cake. Well, I made those for the first time since I realized how sick wheat and sugar make me. I had three of them in one day. The next day in a huge pinch we went to Wendy's which we very rarely do. Normally if we do have to go to Wendy's I will get a salad or a baked potato and it is fine. But because of the wheat and sugar from the previous night, I was hurting bad and craving even more wheat and sugar, so I had a kids meal cheeseburger and fries with a miniature Frosty. Doesn't sound too, too bad does it? I mean really, everything in moderation right? I literally could not tell you the last time I ate a cheeseburger. I have zero memory of when that could have been it has been so long. Thirty minutes and a splitting headache later, I was lying on the couch, overwhelmed with exhaustion and woke up the next morning shaking.
I get very frustrated at not being able to eat like a "normal" person, but as one of my friends pointed out, today's American diet is not "normal" and it is actually a blessing that God made my body so super-duper-hyper-sensitive to wheat and sugar. But never, not once do I finish what He started in this area of my life because the big picture is too overwhelming, everyone I know eats whatever they want so I do not have anyone to join in this experience with me. Most of all it's insane to me to think about missing wheat and sugar for the rest of my life.
Then there is the small matter of exercise, which again, beginning of the week, I start out like a champ, but become so overwhelmed as the week goes on that I drop it and the only exercise this body sees by Friday and the weekend is walking the dog. Yes, THIS dog :)
|Photo courtesy of Elaine Fox|
I know God wants me to exercise and take care of this body He has blessed me with, but instead of doing it and doing it for His glory, I stop a quarter of the way through the job and don't complete the work. Once again I become seriously overwhelmed at the thought of having to do this day in and day out to maintain a good level of health.
Finally there is the matter of what I am going to be when I grow up. All I know to do is write, however even in that area in I get in my own way. I write one thing, but before I even start to write again, dandelions are popping up on that piece, it is getting old, no one is reading it anymore.
What does the cemetery caretaker have that I don't? Diligence, most definitely. Self-discipline, for sure. Possibly he has a clearer vision that this is the person Jesus created him to be, therefore giving him the will to do the job to the best of his ability and without discouragement. Without expecting perfection, because he knows he can't stop the grass from growing where he has already completed his job. He knows that all he can do is the job God has given him to do, without all of the questions, without all of the excuses, without the lack of self-discipline.