Okay – today was a whining day. There were stones everywhere I turned (and I do mean that figuratively as well as literally). I hate it when my body aches beyond aches. I hate it when I’m digging in the dirt and keep hitting a endless supply of stones (and yes – again – literally and figuratively) Errrgggggg…
Then – as if to rub it in – God throws this up in my devotional feed: “A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?” — Ecclesiastes 2:24–25
I was not finding much satisfaction in my toil. I do not do patience well. I want to see results. I want to dig in the dirt, transplant a small, rooted treasure and watch it flourish – – – tomorrow. I want to speak and it becomes. I want to be like my Father. It is also – probably – why there were billions of stones under the spade of my shovel all day today.
While I was mumbling under my panting breath and dragging the shovel that looked totally bent on the sharp end, I’m pretty sure I heard a chuckle. Say what? You see, my mumbling was one of those impromptu complaining prayers. I’m sure you know the kind. Whether you are talking to your bae – your bff – or God, I think we all speak it or at least think it at one time or another. Mine went something like this:
“Seriously, God, I’m old. I’m almost 65. My knees ache. My shoulders ache. Even my feet ache. What were you thinking? How am I supposed to plant a garden and awaken this place to what YOU envisioned when you brought us here?”
The chuckle rumbled over me again. It stopped me in my tracks. It rolled over the hill – in between the trees – lifted the butterfly a little higher in the trees and broke the stone that was hiding a small blessing.
Stones are a pain. They break shovels. They are heavy. They trip us when we aren’t looking. They can block us on our path. Worse, they can blind us to the blessings that are hidden among them.
“In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’”~Josh 4:21
As I stood under the sprinkler, the irony of the chuckle caught me in its grip, and I remembered the verse that has always been our covenant with Our Father. (Did you know that Jesus often prayed the WORD when He talked to His Father?) So after a couple of Aleve and a great salad in my belly, I mumbled a different prayer. One that went something like this: “Okay, quit chuckling. I know I’m pretty slow on the uptake sometimes. So here goes again. I’m asking you, My Holy Father, ‘What do these stones mean’? What am I supposed to learn today?”
- Patience, Child.
- (sigh) Do I have to?
- Humbleness, Child.
- I know. I’m trying…kinda.
- Satisfaction in your toil, Child.
- (downcast) But it hurts!
- Joy in the morning, Child.
- Find the diamonds hidden amongst the dirt, Child.
“He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear [stand in awe] the LORD your God.”~Josh 4:24
Tonight, I sit and let His “stones” of wisdom sink into my psyche, and I wonder if I will ever figure it out. The child who constantly invades my space and gets under my skin. Worldly drama that invades the simple spiritual peace that I try to establish. Unspoken requests on my long prayer list that seem to go unanswered. A house that has rooms of unending projects begging my attention. Writings, books, music waiting to be explored. Hard packed red clay encrusted with stones upon stones upon stones.
I know tomorrow, I will pick up the shovel again. I will chip away at the stones in my way. I will listen for the chuckle and smile. I might have to take a couple more Aleve, but you know? There are definitely worse things in life – like not finding the blessings hidden in His hand. Missing a child’s smile. Laughing with joy in my toil. Maybe tomorrow, I will be able to dig that golden nugget out and put it in my treasure box. And chuckle to myself instead of whining.