Two blog posts in two days is unusual for me, but I felt a little inspired this afternoon so I thought I would strike while the iron was hot.
I was making the most of a break between rain showers, braving the great outdoors and taking care of one of those tasks that I really don’t want to do, but which need doing. Namely, tidying up the back garden: scraping up the apples littering the lawn and making a start on the mounds of gloriously coloured leaves from the Virginia Creeper.
It was the apples that got to me first. We have two trees – one which produces very early fruit. They are sweet, red and delicious and I can’t remember what they are called. The tree produces hundreds of fruit every year and they don’t keep at all, which always leaves us with something of a problem. We picked most of them about four weeks ago and gave away bags full to anyone who would have some. I love to cook with them, but there’s only so many apple pies, cakes and crumbles you can make!
Inevitably, some of the fruit were out of reach and we left them there to allow nature to take its course. Most of them have now succumbed to gravity – not to mention birds, insects, mice and general decay. But today I decided I really should get them off the lawn.
Surprisingly, some were relatively undamaged and I started thinking about what I could do with them. Cue unhelpful visions of apple crumbles…But I couldn’t help but think what a waste it all was too – especially in a month when I’m focusing on trying to eliminate food waste!
But as I scooped up the ones that couldn’t be used and dumped them in the compost bin, I realised that they wouldn’t really be wasted. In nature, nothing goes to waste. Those apples would never have fed the hungry of the world – that’s just a fact – but the ones we couldn’t use were always meant to feed the earth. If I had left them were they were, decomposition would have eventually returned them to the earth. The compost bin will hopefully speed up the process and provide us with a more balanced soil supplement.
And then there were the leaves. I love my Virginia Creeper – it was one of the things that sold me the house – but it does make you pay for that glorious show of colour!
If I’m totally honest, my natural tendency is to see clearing up autumn leaves as a completely pointless task – especially when they haven’t all fallen yet. But today it was a chance to feel virtuous – get some exercise and fresh air, and tick off a job. So it struck me again: it all depends on the point of view you choose to take.
I’m not a gardener by any stretch of the imagination. But when I do make the effort to get out there, I love that I can let my mind wander even as I’m physically engaged in whatever task it is. That hour outdoors today didn’t just leave me with a tidier garden, it gave me some fresh insight into some of the things I’m thinking about at the moment. I found myself making the link to one of the passages I was reading in the Bible this week. One of the ones which refers to Jesus as ‘the stone rejected by the builders which has become the cornerstone.’ Nothing is wasted if God has a purpose for it – but not everyone will be able to see that purpose.
As it says right at the front of this blog, Simplify 7 is a personal journey – a quest to find out what God has in store for me next. Like most Christians, there are days when I’m sure of my purpose and days when it seems far less clear. Days when I know absolutely that I am doing what God wants me to do, days when I know he is telling me he wants me to do something different, and days when it feels like He’s telling me nothing at all. But I’m learning that those days aren’t wasted – even though I can’t always see the big picture, God can. And all I have to do is trust and obey.
I’ve recently discovered Nichole Nordeman and this song in particular has come to mean a lot to me. If anyone is still with me on this blog and reading this far, I hope you enjoy it.