Today was the kind of day you live in Atlanta for. It’s too bad we don’t have more of them. The weather was Chamber of Commerce perfect. We had clear, sunny skies, low humidity and temperatures around 75 for the high. The good news is I got off from work early and had all afternoon to enjoy the weather. It seems like for the past month when the weather was awesome here, I was either at work or out of town. I was able to get a 5-mile run in early this afternoon. It was great, hot but not too hot and I was able to really enjoy it. Then my plan was to do some yard work, spray weeds or something. But I got caught up lying out on the screened porch resting after my run. The next thing I knew almost an hour had past. Sleeping on the porch is one of my favorite pastimes when the weather is nice. I’ve been tempted to sleep out on the porch during the night. I haven’t done it yet, but the summer is still young. Anyway when I woke up I only had time to do what I had promised myself that I would do on the next good weather day I had.
So I grabbed something to drink and a book that I wanted to start reading and I went down to the swing. I was down there about an hour, mainly reading and thinking. I also spent a great deal of time just looking around the yard. The swing is really a pretty picture when you look at it from the deck. You are high above it, and it looks so isolated and far away. When I sat sown on it and looked out, I remembered how much Julia and I lived it and why. The view from the swing gives a totally different perspective of our yard. When you look at the yard and house from the swing, you are looking up, not down. Everything seems different. The terraced yard is in such better perspective. You can see the stone walls that define the terraces. All the plants are seen in a different perspective. I was amazed at how much bigger they had all grown. Well most all, we had a couple of casualties over the winter. But they are really filling in and the yard is taking the shape and form we envisioned when we planted the small plants. I can imagine Papa and Holy Spirit looking at us and saying the same thing. They can see how much we have filled out spiritually and can see where the hard winter has had an effect on us. They are the master gardeners and know how to bring restoration and healing to areas that have been damaged or wounded by the storms of life.
I also saw a lot of weeds, especially around the swing area. You see, we claimed that area from the woods. We cleared all the brush and put pine straw down and last year it looked great. But nature is about reclaiming what was taken, and she is trying to take that area back. I’m sure she was trying last year, but last year Julia was there, always on top of the situation. If I came home from work and it was a pretty day, I could usually find her out in the back yard pulling weeds or planting something. As I looked up I could see tangibly another effect of her absence. The weeds are growing. I have two choices. I can spray them, or pull them up. I will probably spray them; it’s easier and quicker. She wouldn’t let me, she wanted them pulled up, but I really don’t have the time and energy or passion for that, so I will probably spray them. But as I looked at the weeds I thought about how much her presence affected others and me. God used her in my life to “weed” the garden of my heart until He taught me how to do it. I know that her impact on our girls was tremendous. I see so much of her in both of them. Her impact on so many was like weeding a garden. You don’t realize what was done until it is not being done anymore. You don’t realize the garden had weeds when someone was constantly pulling them up. Then when no one is there you realize that something has to be done, and that something important was being done while you had no clue about it. There are so many areas in my life like that. Things that she did for me that I took for granted, not realizing that she was doing them. As these months pass I am beginning to respect her in her absence even more than I did in her presence. That thought really makes me sad. I realize that I really didn’t honor her enough, even though I thought I did. I really consider myself to be a good husband. If I missed it, how much more do those “not so good” husbands miss it with their wives? For all you husbands out there, you really ought to ask the Holy Spirit to show you if you giving honor to your wife like you should. To all you wives, bless you. You need to know that Papa sees your love and sacrifice even when no one else does.
So I’m sitting down on the swing, thinking about my life and where it is going. I just started reading a book called “the Flip Side”. It’s about being all you can be and reaching your potential. He basically says that we all have areas that hinder our growth and destiny. He calls then personal constraints. Anyway, so far it is really good. I know that I have personal constraints; I just need to identify them and deal with them. Julia could see them and make me deal with them. Now I have to work with Holy Spirit, but I have to be ruthless in my ability to deal with them, and I don’t think I am there yet. It is really a process you know. It took me a long time to trust Julia’s discernment. Now it’s gone, and I have to ask Holy Spirit for a quick download. We were so much a team we could use each other’s strengths and hide each other’s weaknesses. It’s like I’m in a battle and all of a sudden, my left flank is exposed to the enemy. Right now I know that prayers and angelic protection are protecting me. That is great, and I am so grateful to Papa and all the saints who are praying. However, I have to gird myself up in the Holy Spirit. I have to learn to lean into Holy Spirit just as I learned to lean into Julia. He is my protector and teacher. I have to learn quickly. So I need to learn to weed my own garden. I really think I have the tools, I just have to be intentional in using them.
So, that’s what I learned sitting on the swing today. We all need a different view, a different perspective, sometimes. Today was a good day. Holy Spirit showed me some things. That is good.