Friday, July 16, 2010

The Supposed Inefficiency of Manual Sprinklers

There is a little house in our neighborhood which has been for sale for a very long time. I finally got up the courage to call the realtor to ask if I could "stage" the house to help attract a buyer. He kindly allowed me to do that (sad that I have so much extra furniture in my garage that I actually COULD do that). ANYWAY, as time has gone on, there has been some interest, and even an offer, but nothing the seller could agree to.

Meanwhile, the summer heat has taken a toll on the yard. It completely turned yellow. So, we jumped into action again. Now we are watering by hand every day and mowing the yard, etc. The owner called and was grateful for the help, said he'd pay my boys to do it. Often, however, its been just me out there moving the little sprinkler around the yard during the day.

At first I was trying to set the sprinkler (the kind that produces a "rainbow" of water that rotates from one side to the other) right in the middle of each yellow patch. The yard is smallish and I didn't want to "waste" water by having the "rainbow" arch of water land on any of the cement or the house itself or the gravel driveway, etc.

After many days I have noticed, however, that there are some dry patches that literally can NEVER be reached when I use this method. I have realized that sometimes, I HAVE to run the sprinkler in a place where much of the water lands on cement in order to actually hit certain dry patches. (I realize that if I had a different sprinkler head, this might not be true, but as I don't, this is the case).

It got me thinking about people. Sometimes I think that as parents and friends and extended family members, when we attempt to "love" someone, we try to be "efficient." Meaning, we try to give them what they need without wasting too much of our precious time or energy doing something that we really don't want to do. Perhaps sometimes we feel our efforts are wasted and that our words of love are perhaps falling on "deaf ears" or onto cement.

However, as I have watched these little patches of grass grow, I have realized that "showering" someone with the love and affection THEY need, in the ways and places and times that THEY need it, is perhaps the ONLY way to help certain relationships and love "grow."

We may feel that we are expending too much time or energy (do I really need to SIT DOWN and watch cartoons with my kids?) or that our efforts are misdirected and mostly miss the mark (is it really worth the all the money to go on a family vacation? can't we just stay home and hang out with each other? Does my extended family really care if I show up to their baseball games or piano recitals?), but I am starting to feel that any and all our efforts to love those around us, especially our children, are never wasted, no matter the cost.

In other words, love cannot be inefficient, love cannot be quantified. And next time I'm tempted to opt out of some seemingly silly bonding time, I will remember those little dry patches and just what it takes to reach them.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Closed For Inventory

All moms understand how hard it is to get to the store. You plan around naps and extra curricular activities. As you have more children, you might even plan so that you can go alone, perhaps in the evenings. But then you run the risk of certain stores being closed, etc. There never seems to be a really convenient time to go shopping. And of course, if you finally get out the door at a decent time, someone will need a diaper change or a change of clothes or a snack, etc., etc!

There is one store in particular that I have been meaning to get to for weeks. I pass it often while on the way to my regular shopping destinations. However, this store is full of breakable trinkets so I know I can't bring too many children at once. Finally last week, there was a perfect window of opportunity. The planets were aligned just right! I excitedly pulled up, parked and bounded to the door, only to find this sign: "Closed for Inventory: Jul 5-9." Wow. Really? Does anyone really "close for inventory" anymore? And for a whole week? I was shocked. And frustrated. Do they know how hard it is for me to get to their store?

But then I thought about it. As I slowly made my way back to the van, I realized that the trip had not been totally wasted. I had, in fact, been reminded of a very powerful message. I too need to take time out of my busy, regular schedule to take stock of my life. I imagined me posting a similar sign on my bedroom door. I should be making time, perhaps each day, to really ponder my mission, to determine my priorities, to discover where I lack and where I have an abundance that I can share.

All too often I feel I am "spinning my wheels," forever journeying and never "arriving" at my destination. Of course, being a parent is a constant journey. And truly, there is no destination other than the daily joy as we witness the growing of our children. Still, I have such better days and nights when I have taken some time to commune with my God, to ponder the things of eternal value before getting back on the race track.

This sign, "Closed for Inventory," has become an important reminder and an invitation to me to MAKE time (it won't happen otherwise!) to search, ponder and pray each day. And maybe every once in awhile, to spend even more time ( a week?) really deeply searching and assessing.
Hopefully, my family will be happier and better off as I really try to create this balance in my life.

Take Time to Be Holy

Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
And run not before Him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.

Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,

Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.

(by William D. Longstaff)