Monday, March 28, 2005


A steady drip of raindrops flood the yard

The Twigs of Life
by Janice Price

As I watch the yard fill with rainwater, I think of how I sometimes feel inundated with life’s problems, to the point I can’t handle them all at once. It isn’t one raindrop that floods the yard; it’s a deluge of raindrops that overwhelms the earth. The ground can only handle a certain amount of water at any given time and I can only handle a certain amount of life’s problems, pain and setbacks at a time. The rest collect in a pool until they can be slowly absorbed.

This is Easter Sunday, a time when people are celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus. But bad weather, like bad news, is oblivious to holidays, birthdays or celebrations of any type.

There was a tornado and flood watch for this area last night and it has continued throughout today. Periods of rain are frequently accented by thunder and lightning. The yards and streets fill with water. They flood and they drain. Still, the bursts of rain continue and more rain is expected. It is a dismal day, a good day to stay home where it is safe and dry.

Well, it is safe, until I take my dogs for a quick walk between storms and before sundown. I almost make it home without incident. Then one foot steps on a twig. It is a very small twig. It has lain on the sidewalk for a month or so, ever since another storm prompted the electric company to cut some branches on the neighbor’s tree to protect their lines. I have probably stepped on this particular twig more than once and never had a problem.

But today the sidewalk is wet and slippery, with pools of water here and there, and I am in a hurry. The twig rolls under my foot, my ankle turns, and I start to drop in one direction while my dogs, unaware I am in trouble, continue trotting home in the other direction at the same pace we were walking. Suddenly, I am following them, but I’m not walking. I’m flying. And crash landing.

This is not one of those times an angel rescues me from accidental injury, although nothing appears broken. The wounds are cleaned and dressed and, hopefully, they have stopped bleeding, but the healing process will take a while.

A strange result of this fall is that a dreary day is drawing to a close with an encouraging lesson in the twigs of life.

It isn’t necessarily broken branches that cause the most frustration and problems. Branches are larger and stand out when you encounter them. They aren’t easier to bear, but they are easier to recognize. Illness, marriage, divorce, death of a loved one, estrangement from a friend, loss of a job, and sitting in a car teetering on the edge of a cliff are examples of branches life might throw into your path. People are more understanding if you become upset or overly emotional when you trip over a branch.

But the little twigs, insignificant and often unnoticed as you repeatedly step on them, can one day trip you and send you crashing to the ground, leaving you weak and shaky when you stumble back onto your feet. It’s the steady drip of raindrops forming a pool on the earth’s surface that causes a flood. Except this flood is the washing machine leaking, the garbage bag breaking, the laundry soap spilling, the pieces of torn newspaper the dog spreads on the carpet, the bowl of spilled cat food, the bank statement that doesn’t balance, and all those annoying things that can clutter your life. One at a time, they can be bearable, but when the steady drip turns into a deluge, you can suddenly step on one little twig and fall.

Uh-oh, you have crashed. You have reacted to a situation in a way you know was wrong, but just as you don’t stay on the ground when you have a physical fall, you don’t stay on the ground when you have a spiritual fall. Remove your foot from your mouth, ask God to forgive you, reconcile with anyone you have offended, and get back onto your feet. You might have to call 9-1-1 for help bandaging your wounds. You might even walk with a limp for a while. But don’t give up on your walk with Christ.

The positive aspect of unexpected twigs is that they serve as a reminder of how much we all need God’s mercy. And the next time we see a brother or a sister fall over a small twig, we will not only be able to empathize, but we can humbly smile, offer a hand and say, “Here, let me help you stand again.”

© 2005 Janice Price

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