My Neighbour's Tree
My beloved and I are enjoying this new season of our lives, in a home that’s just right for us. It’s set amidst a maze of meandering walking trails and lush foliage, with views of distant hills which eagerly beckon us. We delight in our little garden, its flat driveway and the picturesque views that surround us. We drink in the sunrises and moonrises from our kitchen window with a song in our hearts. Thank you God for blessing us far more than we deserve.
Walking the length of our home umpteen times a day keeps my feet moving and the blood in my veins pumping. In this larger home I get far more exercise than I did before, just by performing my routine chores. I’m glad because I need to lose weight so perhaps having extra work is actually an answer to prayer? I think my health is better for it too. My trusty broom has a greater space now to dance in—with my help of course. But … have you noticed, that like prickly thorns on a rosebush, blessings sometimes arrive with a challenge or two attached? I discovered one such snag at the start of autumn. Our front yard boasts no tree but our neighbour’s garden does—a large lovely maple tree that stands tall. Its leaves scatter each autumn creating a crunchy carpet at its base.
Unfortunately our driveway is in line with my neighbour’s tree. It means that when the autumn breezes tug at its leaves, the dead leaves come rushing down to take residence on our squeaky clean driveway. So each morning when I step outdoors to wave goodbye to my man, I find leaves strewn over it—like large sized brown confetti adorning the path of a bridal couple. It means my garden broom receives a turn to compete with my house broom. As I sweep the leaves, I’d often give a few disdainful glances at THE tree—sighing over the leaves still present, wishing I could stop their arrival in my little patch.
One day as I swept the leaves, I stopped. I looked. And then … it dawned on me. Instead of being annoyed by the extra work the tree gave me, I decided I should simply enjoy it. Immediately there was a shift. I began to look at it with new eyes as if I had put on a new pair of glasses.
And that made all the difference.
The beautiful maple tree soon gave me immense pleasure as I gazed upon its loveliness.
There are moments in all our lives when our ‘neighbours’ annoy us in different ways. Relationships are complex. Stuff happens. People irritate me. Their actions might make me growl. Misunderstandings occur. But … there’s a moment of decision if I seek it. I can choose to look with eyes of grace at my neighbour and her tree. With eyes of love. To accept the bad with the good. To see beyond the difficulties into something wholesome. Even beautiful! After all, my neighbour probably needs to do the same with me!
Is there a “neighbour” in your life who causes you angst? What would God ask you to do today? Forgive him? Accept her faults? See the good amidst the bad? Is your “neighbour’s tree” shedding untidy leaves on your life today? Do you sigh and mope when it occurs, just as I did? Perhaps the way forward may be through acceptance of him, with the good, the bad and the ugly? The grace of God is available to us every moment of every day. Would you extend it to your neighbour? Would I?
Come on. Let’s do it.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves
with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each
other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.
Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds
them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:11-14