Thursday, April 3, 2008

Blue Jays, Exercise and Spritual Growth

Over Christmas, we got the wonderful privilege of paying a plumber thousands of dollars to rip up our front yard and replace the main drain leading to our home. The result was a nice rescinding of the sewage in our basement, and a terrible increase of mud everywhere else. Now,what was once our front yard became a mound of mud (to which I was always telling green bottle boy, "no, you can't climb it, no you can't climb it, no you can't climb it. Okay, fine, you can."). After a month of heavy rain, it took on the look of a giraffe grave yard -- one long hole in the ground with dirt mounded around the hole. Then, after my husband and three oldest kids shoveled for a while, it looked like a big slop of mud. And, now, that's where it's staying until the weather is such that we can seed the grass.

I hate paying plumbers. I hope I'm not offending anyone with that, because I really appreciate plumbers, I just hate paying them. I hate paying doctors, too, but it's all necessary. I hate how it looks, and I really hate all the mud. No matter what we do, the mud spills onto the sidewalk, the porch and the kids' shoes. It gets on my daughter's wheel chair, and then we have mud all over the house.

While I'm at it. I also hate to exercise. It's just so boring no matter what I do. I used to exercise with this video I bought at half-price books, but after watching the same video again and again, then I got to the point where I was mocking the exercise guy and thinking, "If he says, 'You can do it! This ain't no fluff! If you want fluff go and buy a pillow!" again, I'm going to find him and stuff a pillow in his mouth!" It was worse than the Christian radio host who went through a phase saying, "That gives me glory bumps!" Oh grow up already! Nobody says that!

So, sometimes I can find something interesting to watch at the gym while I exercise. That's pretty good, but then you have to get up really early in the morning if you don't want to wait for a treadmill or take the kids with you. Who wants to get up out of a nice warm bed early in the morning to go work a treadmill? I sure don't! But, in an effort to be Christ-like towards the guy in my workout video, I decided that I have to take the early morning at the gym tactic.

You might be wondering what my dirty front yard, and exercise has to do with anything, especially blue jays, but I really do have a point. See, the dirty front yard also got us thinking about moving again. We've really wanted to move into a bigger and flatter house. However, when it came to the point where we had to pay for the plumbing this Christmas, we realized that we couldn't do both. Even though we feel crunched in our house, and even though we really want to move into something where the girls can be more independent in the bathroom, it's just not an option for us right now. Needless to say it was a disappointment. I hated that mud.

Then, yesterday, as the kids and I were sitting in our living room reading the Bible, one of the kids jumped up and pointed out the window.

"Look!" he said, "Blue Jays!"

Sure enough, on the mud in our front yard were 4 or 5 beautiful blue jays pecking at the ground. They were gorgeous in contrast to all the mud surrounding them. As we watched them, two male cardinals joined them and our little front yard was speckled with brilliant reds and blues. Soon other smaller birds were joining them: robins, chickadees, and finches. Then, one of my kids noticed something else.

"All the birds are only in our yard."

They certainly were! With all the mud in our yard, it was a feast of exposed worms, grubs and pill bugs. If a car passed at that moment, they would've thought that Dr. Doolittle lived at our house. And, if you could've seen the excitement on my children's faces, you would've thought that the Cincinnati Zoo had set up shop in our front yard.

Really, from Green Bottle Boy's perspective, the mud is one of the greatest blessings God has poured out on him! This morning, as I sat in the chair near our front window praying, I started thinking about how the mud is really a blessing for all of us. I really don't want to be an "upwardly mobile"-focused family. I want to teach them to be content where ever we are, even if where we are isn't comfortable, even if it isn't "functional" by our standards. If we really need a different house, God will send us the means to have a different house. Our job isn't to concern ourselves with that, it's to use our current house to practice contentment and endurance.

Now, you might still wonder what exercise has to do with all this. We'll my quiet time this morning came about directly from exercise.

This morning, as the alarm clock went off, my husband and I had a session of mutual submission. I was so tired, the room was so cold and I just didn't want to get up. However, I just didn't want to look like I was a slacker. It seemed like it would all work better if I could make it look like I was only thinking of other people.

"You can go to the Y first, really I don't mind." I said, certain that I could get him to go first, and then it'd be too late for me to go in the morning.

"No, that's okay." Darn it!

Hit the snooze. 9 minutes later there's more beeping.

"You can go ahead, sweetheart. After all, you have be at work by 8:00."

"No, that's okay. You can go first."

Hit the snooze. 9 minutes later there's even more beeping.

"You can go ahead, you should leave now. It's too late for me, but if you go now, then there's still time for you to workout before work." See? I'm a really sacrificial spouse!


"I think that I should have my quiet time first."

What a great guy! Here I was thinking about how I could get myself out of exercising, and he came up with the way to get us BOTH out of it (until evening, at least)! It was too late to exercise because we had to spend time with God! Obviously that has to come first!

Ahh! Exercise! See! It can lead to spiritual growth!

1 comment:

MarlaQuack said...

That really is a lovely pile of mud in your front yard.