passionate sacrifice…

Have you ever just stopped?  Stopped in the middle of a crowded space, and simply observed? As you suspend your own moment, you can melt in to the background and watch the world as it scurries by.  People rushing from one place to the next.

As a self-proclaimed  “people watcher,”  I often do this very thing.  I see a tired young mother with several small, smiling children, and I wonder; “What is her story?”  I see a sweet old couple walking hand in hand, occasionally pausing to gaze lovingly at each other, and I wonder; “What have their lives been like?”  I see a man dressed in Armani and walking with purpose, and I wonder; “What is it that drives him?”  So many lives, so many people, so many stories.

My grandmother’s gardens are a labor of love.  For nearly 25 years she has worked the soil in the various flower beds.  Making sure that everything is just right for growing the many plants and flowers and trees. Last spring, a huge wind storm swept through the valley where we live, and one of her dear old friends, the tree on the corner, was completely uprooted.  It caused us all to feel a sense of loss.  Something that she had poured so many hours into now was laying helplessly across the front yard.  Nothing could change that moment.  All that was left to do was to have someone come in and remove the giant from its final resting place.

For quite some time after that day I pondered why it was that it grieved us so to lose that tree. After all was that not part of the cycle of life? Why is it  that still, when I look at that corner, it seems so empty?  Wasn’t that to be expected at some point?  And yet, I believe that the things that we are passionate about, the things that we love, the things that we pour our hearts into come with great attachment. To truly be passionate about something becomes a sacrificial pouring of ones self into an idea, a person, a project, a cause.  For my grandma, her gardens are a personal act of worship to her Heavenly Father.  It is something that allows her to feel a closeness with her Creator.  So, for her this act is MORE than worth the personal sacrifice that is sure to come along the way.

Thus, we must learn to count the cost of the things that we invest our heart and soul into.  What are the things in our lives that our worth our passion? What are the things that we are willing to feel a sense of loss over?

“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:20 &21)

I challenge you to stop.  Really stop, and not look at those whose lives are passing in front of you, but at your own life. This time, suspend the world around you and examine yourself.  What does the story of your life say about you?  How does the product of your passionate sacrifice matter in the end?

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7 responses to “passionate sacrifice…

  1. “Examine yourself”…the Bible has a lot to say about self-examination, proving yourself, and pruning the dead branches.

    As an amateur greenthumb, I really related to this story. We had three very large, original trees behind our home. The trees were nearly 30 years or older. The couple we bought the home from fought the utility companies for years to keep them from cutting them down.

    One of the last things she told us when we were transferring the property was, “Please don’t let them cut those beautiful trees down!”

    Over the next several years, whenever tree-trimming time came, I always made a point to ensure the trees were only trimmed around the power lines. The utility workers said they were supposed to cut the trees down, but I managed to reason with them each time.

    Two years ago we had a major windstorm move through the area. Many tree limbs were broken and dead branches fell on power lines. Local electricity transmission was interrupted for several days, and citizens had no way to keep food refrigerated or homes cool.

    Sadly, the utilty workers arrived on a day I was not at home. The work order was clear: remove the trees from around the power lines.

    When I came home, my heart sank when I saw the three trees gone and nothing left but bare air. We had a lot of memories under those trees: helping my grandfather put my daughter’s swingset together, family cookouts, playing cornhole.

    What made the situation more poignant was the fact that the lady who lived there before us, the lady so passionate about her trees, had recently passed away. In a way it was fitting that as her time on earth had ended, so to the cycle of life for the trees had ended.

    I was so disheartened by this experience and what I felt was an unkept promise to her, that I protested by not mowing the area where the trees had been. We had no family events in the back yard last year either. The only thing that grew that year was weeds.

    This year I’m back to mowing, we’re cooking out again, and I’m trying to come up with new ways to take advantage of the area where the trees once stood. I have also reconciled myself to the fact that I did the best I could to preserve the trees, and despite our passion and committment to things in life, some things are beyond are control. Some events we perceive as bad ultimately teach us valuable lessons.

    The world would be a much happier place if we devoted less time to being critical of others and more time perfecting the promise that lies within the heart of all believers.

    Great job and thanks for letting me reminisce!

  2. Nice blog, enjoyed going through it. Keep it up the good work,

  3. Jennie, that was beautiful! Beautiful words from a beautiful heart.

  4. Thanks Jen. Give me a call soon and we can find a time to have coffee. 🙂

  5. Jennifer Edgerton

    Thanks for the reminder Jennie.

  6. hmmm….this reminds me of a conversation we shared Saturday about passions of the heart!

  7. Jennifer- You are quite welcome… I am glad to know you are reading.

    Melissa- It is EXACTLY like that conversation. What is worth the sacrifice?

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