Treasure Hunt - Marriage

I found this tiny bride and groom at a yardsale last weekend.
With only one dollar bill and some change in my pocket, I was happy to find  
a few treasures to take home. The homeowner tucked this clingy pair in a tiny 
cigar box, and they made the ride home without incident.
Right away, I took them to the kitchen sink for a gentle washing.
The worst of the dust and grime came off with a damp cloth, but the hem 
of the bride's gown would not come completely clean

There wasn't anything to be done about their hair - it's just worn away.

And they both have some lumps in unflattering places.
In fact, the more closely you examine this couple, the more flaws become evident -
those lips ... the hands ... some pretty smug eyebrow action ...
Give too much attention to these detracting details, and
you'll miss the really good stuff :

Don't you just want to stare, and drink in the quiet intimacy of their proximity?
She tucks her hand into the small triangle of his arm, 

and he crooks his arm to hold it securely to his side. 
They lean toward each other instead of away,
 allowing selective magnetism to draw them closer. 
In light of this, her nose blob seems much smaller, doesn't it?

 Clearly they've been a couple for a long, long time.
All the evidence points to the fact that they've been used, maybe many times.
According to the layers of dirt (mold?), they spent some years in the basement.
There's no doubt that they're mostly unappreciated, 
 unpopular, even among those they've served in the past.
Available for pocket change, right next to random Tupperware lids.
 But they are still together. 
Together at the wedding celebrations.
Together during the dark basement years. 
Together on the discard table.
Don't muddy hems and awkward trousers seem completely 
beside the point now?

Look at their faces again - 
 those are game-faces if I've ever seen any. 
They take their marriage seriously and seem to know that their relationship
 is worth fighting for; worth the courage it takes to go the distance.
Perhaps the smug eyebrow this groom wears is not one of arrogance, 
but more along the lines of,  "Bring it on!"
When confronted with such a heroic expression
concerns about hair-or the lack of it-disappear.

The conclusion of my  kitchen sink thoughts, for what it's worth:
In the micro-examination of negative, often trivial details, the most 
valuable features of a mature marriage are often overlooked.
 Disappointments take center stage while treasures 
 go unnoticed and unappreciated.


Tools for further thought HERE.


July's End

We've just passed the peak of summer here.
The day lilies have almost finished their show, and the shasta daisies 
are starting to die away. 
Deep green annabelles age calmly, while apples ripen and 
weigh branches to sweep lower.
The bees seem a little bit frantic as they do their day's work. They don't even go home 
for the night, but find a spot to sleep in the purple coneflower so they can 
wake up and get right back to work.

It's the only safe time to pet a bee, by the way, 
if you ever wanted to have that pleasure.

What's the end of July look like where you live?


Wisteria Warning

Years ago, my neighbor planted wisteria along our shared fence row. At first I admired - I'm a sucker for a beautiful vine, you know that. Who wouldn't live to sniff those fragrant, purple blooms? What's not to adore about frondy foliage and clinging tendrils?


There's so much to despise about Chinese Wisteria!

This government agency wants you to know it. 

My neighbor's wisteria grew, true to form, like a greedy monster. Within a few years, it  choked the other beautiful heirloom plants that lined her side of the garden fence: her grandmother's roses, a dark-red and yellow honeysuckle, and an antique white lilac unlike any I'd ever seen. It's managed to dominate a tree and is currently riding high from the canopy, waving thin, triumphant arms like it just don't care

I've worked hard to keep my neighbor's problem on her side of the fence. But if I don't maintain a ruthless cut and drag policy, I find the fronds strangling my own garden treasures. So I've occasionally 'slipped' and sprayed weed killer on a few wisteria plants that were creeping to my side. And when tiny, flexible wisteria seedlings sprout in other parts of our yard, I yank them out and make sure not a single root hair remains. 

The same scenario plays out in my life - in every life!  
I have the power of choice in what I allow to grow in my own 'garden'. Someone close to me may cultivate habits or tastes which are, according to scripture, not acceptable for God's children. Their choices may cause me to struggle, and as a result, I will have to do extra work to keep my own heart pure.

The ruin of my neighbor's prized garden is a cautionary tale which daily reminds me to 
be vigilant and intentional in the disciplines of heart examination and repentance.

And I've become pretty handy with the garden shears, too.