A couple of months after we moved into this complex, a small shovel, bright red plastic with a nice wooden handle, showed up beside our back deck. It sat there for several weeks and no one ever claimed it. Over the course of that first summer several of the neighbourhood kids asked if they could borrow it to play in the dirt and gravel piles. We not only told them they could, we also told them it was not our shovel and they could do whatever they wanted to do with it...take it home, break it over each others' heads, whatever....but the danged shovel kept returning to us. Finally, a year later, I understand why!
That shovel is God's gift to us and like so many of his gifts, this one went unrecognized and unused for too long.
The other day I noted one of our neighbours, a sturdy farm girl type university student, outside with her own little shovel industriously scooping up a huge pile of goose poop that had accummulated along her pathway to the car lot. She finished her task then walked the shovel of crap over to the huge garbage bin and dumped the whole works into it....bagless....just the straight scoop o' poop. Aaaaaaahhhhhh.....smart move sturdy farm girl type....smart move. I have been picking up poop piles with a special pair of rubber gloves, paper towels and small zip lock bags, cursing the waste of money for the bags as much as I have been cursing the management for refusing to make even the smallest attempt to remove the geese from the property.
We have done a great job ourselves keeping the geese away from our place, but tonight just before dinner a huge number of them showed up and were heading toward our place just as we were driving away to a church service. (Ascension Day, where Christians celebrate the ascension of Christ into heaven and the sending of the gift of the Holy Spirit upon the Church)
I knew there was going to be poop from here to tomorrow by the time we arrived home and there certainly was. Fortunately it was still light enough outside for me to don the rubber gloves and pick up the poo with that little red shovel that was abandoned at our place so long ago. I walked the mess over to the bin, dumped it over the edge and walked away happy. A wipe off of the shovel with a damp paper towel back at home and setting it up in a special spot on the deck for easy access for the next dump and all is well. Other than the occasional paper towel, it is no longer going to cost me money and waste expensive zip lock bags to get rid of the stuff.
I walked all the way home tonight from the Ascension service...just over 3 km...so my husband could take our car and accompany the other priests to their favourite coffee bar and I wouldn't have to sit and listen to them as the only woman present. hahaha Also I couldn't believe my good fortune that the threatening rain clouds didn't touch me with one drop of the wet stuff all the way home and the wind died down beautifully. It was a lovely walk and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It gave me a chance to reflect on the sermon my husband gave tonight from Ephesians: that all the spiritual leadership gifts are given in measure to every one of God's people, not only to help them personally look more like Jesus, but so that the church as a whole can look more like Jesus....as I said earlier, we have not always been quick enough to recognize those gifts nor to utilize them to make the church more like the Saviour we claim to serve. It was a good reflection for me at a time when I find myself between church families.
I ran so many errands today, enjoyed my day, enjoyed the church service and the long walk I wasn't expecting to have when we left home tonight. I hope my husband is having a glorious time with his friends. He doesn't have much time for personal friends so I am delighted he was able to take a bit of time tonight to socialize and enjoy some of them.