Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Clean It All

"I sure hope they appreciate this," I muttered, as I picked up the 347th load of pine needles, three years worth of packed dead leaves, rocks, errant trash from the workers, loads of viney poison and other assorted debris.

"And I'm sure I'm gonna get a nice rash from this Virginia Creeper." Virginia Creeper is similar to Poison Ivy, but has 5 leaves. I'm highly allergic to both.

We have new neighbors. In fact, we have a new house next door, which houses the new neighbors. This is what the property looked like before said house and neighbors:



It was what insurance companies call an "attractive nuisance." It's a nuisance for the neighbors, but attractive for troublemakers.

Then, one day, it looked like this:



Now it looks like this:



Because of the excessive growth on the neighboring property due to neglect, we left a good 10-15 feet on the other side of our fence when we installed it, simply because we had no choice. The lot was overgrown, and we assumed no one would ever live there. Now the growth was gone, and there was a cumulative mess on the other side. And it was our responsibility, not theirs, to clean it.

So, here I was, raking and lifting load after load into the yard cart, and carting it into the "woods" (a line of trees) at the back of the property.

And grumbling. It was hot. I was sweating. Why wasn't Hubbles doing this instead of me (Because he was cutting the lawn)? 

I pictured one or all of their three strapping young sons coming out with a rake, or rakes (as if they have their own and keep them stored in their breakfast nook), running over to me with a cold glass of lemonade, and saying, "Here, Mrs. Flaherty, you look like you could use this. And why don't you let me finish this for you?"

Ha! Riiiiiight. Didn't happen. Okay, one of those sons is only three years old. Not so strapping.

"They're probably looking out their window and thinking, 'I wish she wouldn't put all that mess there. It's so unattractive for us in the brand new house and yard to look at.'"

Grumble. Murmur. Complain. All of which gave me more fuel to continue on. The annoyance I felt fueled me for at least another half hour.

Then I got to the property line. I know this because there is one of these at the back and one at the front of the property, and I drew an invisible line between the two with my eye as I raked.

There was still more debris, mostly rocks, pine needles, and oodles of poison vines on THEIR side, and at this point, my attitude was, "That's their problem. Not mine."

Well, as God would have it, it became mine. I heard this still, small voice in my spirit--not at all the condescending tone that I was using, so I knew it didn't come from me:

"Keep going."

"WHAAAT?"

"Keep going. Clean it all."

"Oh, come on, God, really? It's hot, and I've been out here for hours. I'm exhausted."

"No one said you had to do it all today. But clean it all."


"But they don't even appreciate it!"

"How do you know? They never even asked you to do it. You're the one who decided that it should be done. And just because they haven't done what you think they should do doesn't mean they don't appreciate it. If it were you on the other side of this fence, wouldn't you appreciate it if your neighbor did that for you?"

Love your neighbor as yourself. Ugh! Sometimes it's really not so fun.

So I cleaned it all. 



All except around the tree that is clearly theirs (on the far left). This is what that tree looks like now: 



Their landscaper doesn't seem to want to touch it. I have a feeling MY Landscaper is going to tell me otherwise.

Love your neighbor as yourself. Love their yard as much as you love your own.

When asked what the most important commandment was, Jesus replied, 

"Hear O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only God. And you must love Him with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

The second is: 'You must love others as much as yourself.' No other commandments are greater than these."

We've heard it as "love your neighbor as yourself."

Love your neighbor's yard as much as your own. 

If you love the Lord with everything you have and are, you'll clean it all.

Blessings Along the Path,
Mare

Song/video of the day: Lincoln Brewster: Love the Lord Your God



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20 comments:

  1. I LOVE this. What great photos! And what a wonderful picture of what God does in our lives. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks, Kelsie. I'm avoiding "the" tree, because I'm afraid God might make me clean up around it, even though it's clearly the neighbor's...as if not going near the tree would cause me NOT to hear God? Amazing how we justify our stupidity and ignorance, haha. Thanks for stopping by.

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  2. What a transformation! I can't stand yard work, but what I great depiction of showing love to our neighbors.

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    1. Well, I think you're busy enough, girl! I don't mind it actually, but when it gets hard, either physically, or spiritually, I start to complain :-)

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  3. Aaawww, yes! I love how you describe your conversations with God. I tend to go back and forth with Him too and He always wins, He always has the best advice:) I enjoyed this so much, thank you!

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    1. I know! But we do it anyway, like a two year old!

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  4. "My Landscaper" ~ love it! Mare, I'm praising Him because you had a heart to listen. I'm thanking Him that you posted it here, encouragement for all to read. What a blessing you are to your new neighbors, what a daughter you are to our God.

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    1. Aw, thanks, Kristi. Your words are manna to my soul today. Truly

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  5. LOl! It is always a blessing to hear and then obey no matter how hard itt gets. God sure knows how to teach us via the little or big things in our lives and circumstances. It is often hard to go the extra mile but very fulfilling.
    Thanks for sharing, have a super blessed day!
    Love

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    1. Thank you Ugochi. Yes, it is good and hard too. Joyce Meyer calls it an "Ouch! Hallelujah!" moment. I don't know why I keep trying to argue with God. I never win.

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  6. Mary, what a fun post to read. Love how God spoke, and you listened. I kind of think that, a lot of times, we don't even know the future benefit of our obedience. He protects us, and always seems to provide a way to magnify Himself. Thanks for sharing. ((blessings))

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    1. You are so right, Brenda! I said in my comment above to Ugochi, that I never win when I argue with God, but actually, I never lose, because when He wins, I win.

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  7. Love your neighbor’s yard as much as your own. Now that’s a good modern saying. ha. Love this story, Mary. Thanks for sharing your moment of spiritual victory!

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. Always a pleasure to see your face and encouraging comments here. Too bad I can't say I'm that victorious every moment. It's a moment by moment thing with me.

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  8. I think I need to move in next to you! What a great neighbor you are, Mary! I get those kinds of nudges from God quite a bit too--though not usually when I'm doing yardwork! ;) Thanks for this inspiring, humorous and insightful post, my friend. You always leave my heart a little "cleaner" and brighter after having visited your cyber-yard! Btw, I don't think you have a link at Wedded Wed to this post yet, at least not that I could find. And Sheila Gregoire will be sharing about my post in various social media platforms so there could be a little extra traffic your way if you link up today. I do hope you are doing well, my friend. Have a great week!

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    1. Beth, it would be a delight to clean your yard, because I'd know that you'd appreciate it, and most likely give me a cool drink or invite me in for coffee (if it's too warm for lemonade). See, I've got it all figured out! I must have been so focused on visiting other posts and commenting on your post on your linkup this morning that I forgot to post my own! I know I was there this morning...or at least I thought I was. I'll get right on that. Thanks!

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  9. Obeying that quiet voice to do more and above the minimum exercising our love muscles, that was a reminder I needed today!

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    1. I love that, Helene-exercising our love muscles!

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  10. I have been in similar shoes and I smiled as I read. I could see myself in your story. It's hard to "keep going" and "do more" when all you want to do is stop and have that glass of lemonade! ((hugs))

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    1. Dianne, it's not fun at the time, but when you look back, it is most definitely with a smile! We have since moved our fence closer to the property line, and it is very obvious that the tree is on their property, but the junk around the tree is still there. I'm trying to ignore it--so far, it's working haha! But Idk how long it will last...my ignoring it, that is! Thanks for stopping by.

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