We have a beautiful Banana tree in front of our house. It is ten feet tall with as many leaves and several smaller Banana trees growing around it. Unfortunately last night a sudden thunderstorm with strong winds knocked it over and snapped the trunk of the tallest tree. We are going to have to cut almost 5 feet of the tree off and hope it will survive. Beth and I both are disappointed at the mishap. We’ve spent years feeding, watering and taking care of the Banana tree.
It was a painful reminder of the transience of life. There is nothing permanent, nothing which can withstand the storms of life forever. Everything and everyone has a breaking point. One of the most difficult wisdom lessons we can learn is holding things and people loosely. This seems like an easy concept to grasp. We are surrounded by constant reminders of how quickly life changes. What once was is not anymore. Years pass by in the blink of an eye. Adjusting to a new “normal” is an almost everyday occurrence.
“Nothing in the world is permanent, and we’re foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we’re still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it.”
-W. Somerset Maugham
Ready or Not –
Tuesday afternoon I pulled into the driveway and immediately realized what I had forgotten. There was a bug control company’s truck sitting there with a bug person spraying the outside of the house. My first thought was not the way the house looked on the outside but on the inside. The bathroom remodel was completed a week and a half ago but we are still trying to get things back in their proper place. As a result, the house is quite messy. It was too late to cancel and as soon as I headed into the house the bug person followed so there was no time to straighten up anything! “Oh well,’ I thought, ‘I’m sure they’ve seen worse.” I took the dog outside as they sprayed the inside and finished up. “Thanks and see you next time,” they said, got in their truck and pulled away.
It was an uncomfortable but important reminder of life’s unpredictability. Even when our plans seem permanent, perfectly laid out, organized, and ready for anything life has a way of showing us how little control we have over everything. Life’s full of surprises, some good and some not so good, some which we can get over quickly, others that pull us in a direction we don’t want to go to places we’d rather not be altering it permanently.
Life, like the bug person on Tuesday afternoon; ready or not, here it comes.
Balanced and Level –
Last night the Mrs. and I continued working on an extension to the front porch. We are extending the roof about 15 feet and then hope to screen it in. The first step was digging the holes which would hold the 4×4’s. I did this Saturday two weeks ago. The next step was to place poles in a hole and fill it with cement. Neither Beth and I had ever dealt with cement before but knew enough to make sure the poles were level before pouring the concrete in the hole. We did and then, slowly, mixed the cement and the water. We were using quick-set concrete which only takes 30 minutes to get firm so being sure the pole was level and balanced was utmost important. We spent more time adjusting the poles than permanently setting them in place.
This morning, I checked on the poles and they are nice and secure. I also reflected upon the foundations of our lives. Every person has something they anchor their lives in; religion, science, relationships, intelligence or a mix of all of these. There are many foundations we can place our lives into but the real question is; “Are we balanced and level?” A lot of ideologies, philosophies and people we use to anchor our lives can leave us uneven and unstable. The key to peace within is to make sure what we fix our lives upon doesn’t just secure us but gives stability and the evenness our spirits need.