For a Life That’s Super-Duper, Expect Sometimes to Use the Scooper!

Trooper in our yard in mid June.JPG

…especially if you have a dog named Trooper—which we do!  Yesterday, as we were playing together in our yard, I was thanking the Lord for a day warm and dry enough to play there.  The “minefield” gave silent and smelly testimony to the reality that I hadn’t ventured out there for over a week. And I knew if I wasn’t careful my shoes would bear that same testimony and spread it elsewhere.  It was time.  I got the garden shovel spot and commenced scooping, carrying, and dropping each “landmine” over the fence (still on our property). 

Then I thought, “Hey, this is great exercise!”  Stretching, weight-lifting, weight-bearing balance training (keeping the stuff perched on the shovel while trekking through the obstacle course to reach the fence), and aerobics going back and forth.  Throughout this time, as the obstacles diminished, Trooper gnawed on a big stick, wagging his tail to cheer me on.

When I finished, I felt a wonderful sense of accomplishment.  We had our yard back again.  And, I enjoyed the euphoric effect of all the endorphins released into my system from the workout.

Granted, there are many other, more pleasant, ways of getting these same results.  But, as Trooper and I ran around in our now “mine”-free yard, the truth shone clearly to me-- a life worth living involves “scooping”. 

Prov. 14:4 confirms this--  “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.” (Prov. 14:4).  The only way to have a clean stall is to keep it empty!  Sounds good until we realize we need the animals that create the mess!  Abundant crops, abundant life, even daily physical and psychological survival require “the strength of the ox.” 

Who or what is “the ox”?  Anything or anyone we need. Like it or not, none of us can produce anything without help.  Even “self-made” people have used something made by others and dealt with others to survive and thrive. In farming, animals require a lot of care and cleaning up after.  In the non-farming world, machines and tools require maintenance, and repair when they break.  Computers and other technology make our work easier and more efficient—until they don’t work and frustrate us!  But we’ll always fix it or get support from someone to fix it—because, like the oxen of farming, we need it, frustration-mess and all!

We can also have a much “cleaner” life without all the mess involved in relationships, but to achieve that, we’d have to give up all our relationships!  This would leave us empty of love.  People who’ve been hurt and disappointed by family, friends, and romantic relationships may say, “Better that than opening the door to more wounds!”  But no one can truly live without loving and being loved.  That’s how God designed us, and why He said at the beginning, “’It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper suitable for him.’” (Gen. 2:18)

Someone once quipped, “To dwell above with saints we love, oh that will be glory!  But to dwell below with those we know, now that’s a different story!”  The closer we get to people, the messier the relationship often gets.  But the fulfillment, joy, and comfort of truly knowing and being known by others can’t come any other way.

We can avoid stress by avoiding problems.  But a problem-free life means nothing gets accomplished. Which also leaves us empty of satisfaction.  Every invention, discovery, or completed project, involves solving something.  Sometimes quickly, sometimes not.  It often takes perseverance and determination—a decision that whatever we’re after is worth removing the obstacles.  But take heart—even the process of removing them brings its own benefits—the strength-building mental exercise, and the endorphins that flow from overcoming challenges to accomplish something worthwhile. 

Back to our puppy.  I’m so thankful for him—the fun, the companionship, the affection, all the life-lessons the Lord gives me through him.  In light of that, what’s a bit of scooping to make it happen? 

In light of what relationships and challenges contribute to our lives, what’s it worth in “scooping” to make it happen?