If you were a farmer 100 years ago, you might have used a plow horse to pull the metal plow to turn and mix the soil until it was sufficiently prepared to plant the seeds. The horse was meant to do the bulk of the labor; dragging the heavy plow through good soil and bad, while the farmer kept the horse in a straight line. A plow horse didn’t have to move swiftly to be considered good at its job, it needed to be consistent and dependable; always moving forward toward its goal, without much complaining or urging – a good plow horse wanted to plow the field. It knew every morning that the day would bring some rocky, dry, hard spots and, some places that were level and smooth; but, it didn’t matter, the plow horse would work its way through all of it, under the carful guidance of its farmer.
We were talking at my Bible study last Wednesday about how God will come to us no matter where we are at. We can be in a time where life is good; there is peace at home, the job is good; or maybe in a place when life isn’t so peaceful. Maybe there isn’t a job, or it’s not the one you want. Maybe the peace at home isn’t real, and the underlying stress is chewing through your insides. Maybe some days are really good and some are just OK. One thing is certain, everyone is going through something that is stressful, or if they aren’t, then someone they love is. Our belief is that God is standing right next to every one of us, all of the time, helping to make the day better even if we don’t ask for help. He doesn’t solve all of our problems, He makes it easier for us to solve them ourselves, and so we exit the troubled times in better shape. At the Bible study, we talked mostly about the where and when of our interactions with God. Today, I want to explore the who in our relationship with God.
Saturday is a great day for a family barbeque. Saturday is also my day for outside chores: mowing lawns, trimming and pruning the plants, cleaning the garage, and I get great satisfaction in seeing the fruits of my labor when I am done working. Manning the family barbeque on a Saturday afternoon gives me the chance to view my back yard kingdom at its finest moment of the week, and to reflect on how lucky I am.
It was the time during the dinner preparation when I was alone by my BBQ; the family was inside putting the finishing touches on the on the table setting and side dishes, and the meat needed a couple more minutes on the grill. I was inwardly and outwardly smiling while I surveyed the yard. The pool was clean; from my vantage point the water appeared a deep turquoise blue, the waterfall and spa, surrounded by palm trees, bird of paradise, and lilacs look like a scene from a Hawaiian post card. To my right are more palm trees and ferns, overgrowing the ceramic pots they live in, nestled under the branches of an apple tree. The green lawn is a living contrast to the pebbled concrete separating it from the pool. I like my yard; I am at peace here.
The importance of the beauty overwhelms the reality of the flaw.
I am still sitting in terminal 1 in the C concourse at Chicago O’Hare airport on the 14th hour of delay, waiting for a flight home. The monitor, which I no longer believe, says that I still have two more hours to wait. So, I do what everyone does under these circumstances; I slouch in my uncomfortable faux leather chair, crossing and uncrossing my legs to maintain circulation, and watch people walk by.
There is a lot of talk about diversity, how everybody is different and the difference is good for everyone. Well, in this airport I have found the grand slam of diversity. I have seen every shape, size and color of person meander by my perch in just the last 30 minutes. I have a great location to watch and write about the world, and I don’t think I can even type fast enough to capture all that I see. My plan is simple; I will smile at random people walking past, not too obvious-just a pleasant hello kind of smile, and note their reaction. Here we go: