Lessons Everywhere

It’s Friday morning and I’m reflecting on the events of my life recently, specifically related to “the 19,” as J calls it. J has been off of work since January 9th and its been amazing having him home. Things that have been dragging with the property are now set and we are building. In fact, J’s Uncle Byrd is the person we contracted as we know hime personally and he gave us the best bid. Byrd planned to hire a few people to help him with part of the process, but with J being home we can save him that money. We’ve been spending time there every day.

So why am I reflecting? Because of two instances involving our new neighbors . . .

J was home briefly over Christmas and his cousin Andy was up from Kentucky. At that time, he gave us a trail cam which we installed in the woods to watch for deer. I had the opportunity to check it once, but last week it came up missing. Since there was a lot of snow on the ground, Byrd followed the footsteps which lead back to one of our neighbors property’s. What a crappy thing to do! We filed a report but that’s about the end of it for now. They know they did it. We know they did it. Yet we don’t know each other. I can tell you the house, but I can’t tell you what the people look like who live in it. I want to get many other trail cams installed so we know exactly who is out there walking around. It’s made me a little fearful of walking it by myself or letting M and her friends do the same. J put ‘No Trespassing’ signs along all four of the property lines.

I don’t like living with fear. I don’t think anyone does. What are my options? Interestingly ‘out of nowhere’ and unrelated, I’ve been called to grow deeper in my faith and closer to God. I’ve been reading my Bible every morning. But now I see that nothing is unrelated. God knows what the trajectory of our lives will be before we’re even born. If I hadn’t started reading my Bible again or attempting to get stronger with God, how would my reaction and actions be different?

The passages are familiar. Ive read them many times over the years. Here are a few that stand out in my current situation . . .

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Luke 10:27

“… Love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Do to others as you would like them to do to you.”  Luke 6:27-31

These passages seem so counterintuitive to ‘normal.’ We (myself included) strive and hold on to possessions and cling to what is ‘ours,’ but God says these possessions are transient, and things of this world. Our true treasure is in heaven. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t upset that I feel violated, but honestly, that is the biggest hurdle to overcome. The trail cam can be replaced. It’s the fact that someone else felt fine (justified even?) to walk on our property and remove something that wasn’t his or hers. I’m still processing it all.

Next subject. Possibly an even bigger one. Still about neighbors.

IMG_5740I was in an ‘accident’ yesterday with another neighbor. I put accident in quotes because my jeep wasn’t touched. I was passing the young girl, eighteen, on a township road close to us. I was heading to “the 19” and she was driving into town. The roads are narrow. She was driving down a hill as I was coming up it and it freaked me out because she was coming fast and mostly in the middle of the road. I jerked the wheel to the right, she to the left, but she seriously overcorrected. It all happened so fast. As I looked in my rearview, I saw her car go right, left, right and left again, then flip onto it’s top. I was so scared. I was afraid of what I’d find when I went back to her. I turned my jeep around and she was crawling out of her vehicle. Visibly shaken but physically okay. I can’t seem to shake the uneasy feeling I have.

The whole day could’ve been vastly different.

Why did I drive to the 19 at that time and why was she driving into town?

Why was my jeep untouched while her car is likely totaled?

Why her? Why me?

What if one or both of us were under the influence of alcohol?

What if one or both us us were texting or otherwise distracted?

What if she were seriously injured?

The state highway patrolman said many people in my position don’t even stop to check on the other vehicle. I can’t even imagine that. What if it were someone else and they didn’t stop? She was okay, but how would she process that for the rest of her life and how would it make her different today?

Just why? I’m kind of making myself crazy thinking about all of it.

I don’t have the answers to any of these questions. I guess I’m not supposed to but I don’t believe anything in this life just happens by chance. It could’ve been so much worse. We are both here to tell about it today. We are both here to live the lives we were supposed to live. For me, it’s about always choosing better, always getting better, growing, loving, becoming. Maybe that sounds corny, but it certainly is true for me. I’m not content to live an empty life. And yet, I can do so much more.

Maybe I’ve been too content lately. I’m happy 99% of the time. Maybe God is trying to shake me up and say, “look, you could be dead, but you’re not. Seriously. Do something with your life worth remembering!” I mess up over and over again but God keeps blessing me with many things day after day. I can never take them for granted. It’s my job to make this world a better place. I am dedicating my every day to doing just that.

I will love more deeply.

I will not take things so personally.

I will be kind to each person I meet.

I will not think myself important.

I will create something at the 19 that helps others.

Our 19 isn’t Orchard Street Farm at all. It’s something entirely different. I am being called to something much bigger.

Today this vision changed to what’s always been present, if only under the surface: bliss.

Bliss = supreme happiness; utter joy or contentment.

It’s our birthright but we must choose it.

I will choose it.

And I will share.