Picking Up the Pieces

This post is a parable.

Last month while Herb was constructing a gravel pathway he dumped some of the gravel in the grass.  Grass will grow in gravel, here and there where seeds find a grip between pieces of gravel, but such a result doesn’t match our standards for a lawn. After all, we contract with Trugreen to achieve a green, virtually weed-less expanse of fescue.  Gravel is for paths, not for lawns.

I felt a stab of frustration.  I wanted to say, “Why didn’t you lay down a tarp?”, or worse….   Somebody was going to have to pick up that gravel.   Herb saw I was looking at the spread of gravel under the truck’s tailgate.  “I’ll take care of it,” he said. And then he walked to the house to clean up.

 He had been working for hours in the heat.  And the path looked great.  The sun was dropping beyond the tree tops.  It was time to make supper.  Droplets of perspiration dampened my t-shirt.

But again, somebody was going to have to pick out the gravel.

I sat down in the grass and began scratching out each nugget of gravel.  At first it wasn’t easy.  I was resentful.  How could he have been so careless?  And then piece by piece my unaffectionate, accusing attitude lifted, until I began to feel pride in what we could accomplish together.  I was the clean up crew.  My fingers aren’t arthritic; I’m limber enough to crawl on the ground; a scrub brush would clear the dirt from under my nails.   It took an hour.  I filled a large bucket and then dumped the gravel onto the path. In the end my spirit was light.

This is what healing is like, my friends.  It doesn’t attack, or blame, or gossip.  It isn’t resentful. And it isn’t accomplished with systems of governance.  It is accomplished one by one, individually,  by taking responsibility for our own emotions and thoughts and by serving one another, with our fingers, piece by piece, if it must be.

 Philippians 2:3 ESV
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

2 Corinthians 13:11 ESV
Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

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