Saturday, June 12, 2010
Changing of the Spade
My old shovel finally gave up the ghost last weekend.
I plunged the spade into the fresh soil of our garden, drove it in deep with my foot, pulled back on the handle, and heard a low-pitched crack. Sure enough, the handle had broken completely loose at the base, and my dig was stalled.
Honestly, this wasn't a complete surprise.
I acquired this shovel nearly a decade ago. At the time, my parents and I lived in the same town, but when they moved away, I took care of their yard for awhile, and some of their tools ended up migrating to my house. Ever since then, at the three different residences I've called home in that span of time, this shovel has stood in my backyard, leaning against the fence, standing guard against I'm not sure what, totally exposed to the elements season after season.
It is precisely this exposure that weakened the shovel to the point of cracking. It certainly wasn't weakened by extended use. Honestly, I didn't use it much at all. But time and weather took its toll.
So, I made an uneventful trip to Lowe's to purchase a new shovel, but while there, also picked up a hook for the wall of my garage, to give my new shovel a place to stay, safe from the elements that had shortened the life of its predecessor.
Funny how different things are when you're spending your own money on something, isn't it?
It wasn't that I didn't appreciate the previous shovel. I was glad to have it, used it for its intended purpose when it suited me, but took no great care to ensure its longevity or protect it from the wear and tear of time and trial.
That's so often the difference between the one who has paid the price for something and the one who hasn't.
How ironic that some of the relationships we claim to value the most are so often left standing against a backyard fence, exposed to needless wear and tear, yet assumed to be ready for the demand and strain of the dig when called upon.
How do we treat our relationships?
Like treasures for which we've committed our time, our resources, and ourselves? Or like hand-me-down tools to use but not preserve?
Ultimately, how do we treat our relationship with God?