Last night I went outside to get in an hour of chores and some physical labor – always a good thing. I had in my mind that it would be therapeutic after a day spent mostly in front of a computer screen or on the phone. When I walked inside from my hour, I was dirty, sweaty and flustered. My wife asked what was wrong. I said, “whatever is the opposite of therapeutic, that’s what I just experienced.” She laughed. I was not laughing.
Instead of a quiet, calm evening in the yard I was eaten alive by mosquitos, got into a patch of stinging nettle with my bare hands while pulling weeds and picked up a dirt pile full of red ants which promptly bit me as many times as they could. Between these miseries, I managed to pull some weeds, pick up sticks and clean out our little garden fish pond. And not swear. Too much.
What does this have to do with God? It has me reflecting on life’s little annoyances – and how we need each other to get through them and not tailspin. Back to my wife’s laughing. Something about someone who loves you laughing at you is disarming. It’s because they know you – and they (usually) know when it’s ok to laugh at you. Had I been alone, I might have stomped around angry, then marched into the garage and started drinking beer. Then sat on the couch and fumed. Then drank more. You can see where it could lead. (don’t worry, this is not how I operate – but you can see the patterns!)
No, sometimes community – of friends and family – helps put life’s small challenges into perspective and helps guard against our feeble minds and hearts wandering into unhealthy places. This is a good thing – and not complicated. It only requires that we do, indeed, have some kind of community. That’s the call and joy of the body of Christ – to be together and bear one another’s burdens, no matter how simple. Let’s practice it this week.
And watch out for the red ants.
Grace and Peace,