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Pastor Paul's Ponderings

Pastor Paul reflects on issues of today and how teachings of the Bible can help us on our path.

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September 20, 2023

  When Alfred died his bed reverted to me. Back in the day, when trainers had employees that lived in bunkhouses it was traditional for the trainer to supply a bed. For whatever reason I had no use for his bunkhouse so I stuck the folded-up bed in the corner of my feed room. It got buried until one day when we shipped out for Fairhill.

  As I pulled it out of the corner a couple mice jumped down and scurried. Mice and feed rooms go together and a mouse or two was not uncommon, but we had ample barn cats and there were also the nocturnal visits from skunks that ate their share of mice, so I was a bit shocked to see more than one scampering for cover.

  In curiosity, I began to open the bed and so many mice of all sizes and ages ran in every direction that I almost fainted (the smell of mouse urine didn’t help either.)

  I felt icky. Like violated and dirty. The bed had been chewed up on the inside and had become a mouse high-rise luxury apartment right next to the grocery store. Eventually, I hooked a lead shank to it and hauled it to the curb. By now a few of the cats had been alerted and were after the one here and there that stayed aboard the bed until too late and made a break for it.

  I felt that same feeling once again this summer in my garden. I had been keeping the deer at bay this year by setting up tripwires of clear fishing line tied to cans and metal objects that would fall and make noise scaring the deer. If I reset it every single day and changed its location from time to time the garden would only have minor damage here and there.

  Danica had use-it-or-lose-it time in July, while all my vacation time was ahead of us in August, yet we snuck ‘down the shore’ for three days anyway. I thought it was only three days, the garden would be fine.

  When we returned it had been completely devastated. Every single tomato plant had been reduced to half its size. Pepper plants were skeletons. I felt violated, a huge sense of loss and disappointment. The same feeling I felt when mice jumped out of Alfred’s bed.

So I abandoned the garden, knowing that I would be gone a week at a time twice in coming August. Abandoning my garden was a first for me in all my years of gardening, but I was disgusted and angry.

  Last week a neighbor complained about the growth of weeds, which struck me as odd as prior to my arrival it had been basically abandoned property covered in weeds, vines overgrowth, and accompanied by trash and whatever folk might care to dump back there. I was so disgusted that I didn’t even venture back there. But the neighbors’ complaints prompted me to go back to reduce some of the overgrowth.

  I expected nothing but work-work that I was not interested in. But soon I found some of the smaller tomatoes buried under weeds that the deer deemed too small and hard to get to. I was able to gather enough for my family at least. And they were delicious. As I piddled I also found some eggplant and then there were the colorful small gourds. Tons of them. They are volunteers from compost and they are hardy and apparently don’t taste good to the deer.

  While everything seemed lost, completely ruined, and in my mind that is what I saw, there actually was still some good left. (And I remembered my onions, while completely covered now I am sure that they are there ready to harvest!) All these things I didn’t see, but had survived and were waiting for me. And there were the flowers. While I see them, they were not the reason for my garden, but they are beautiful.

  Not all was lost. There is still a modicum of good, of the desired, in what appears to be completely lost. The Biblical analogies are too numerous to fit in the little space that I have left, but God has always worked that way, producing the good from a bad situation, and always saving a remnant. Don’t give up. Don’t lose hope.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Paul

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