As you know, last week I wrote about the beginning of fall, 2012, which officially occurred yesterday, Saturday, Sept. 22, at approximately 10:49 am. Not that it makes that much difference to me when it officially took place, but it was down near freezing here in Carmel last evening and that nip in the air signifies the beginning of the fall season to me. And anyway, I used to think fall always started on Sept. 21st, so it’s still odd for it to start on the 22nd.
Pretty soon it will be time to do the yard work that will result in finishing up the chores, other than shoveling snow, until spring and God’s perfect timing for the new growth that He promises each year. Yesterday, a very dear friend of mine, Dr. Steven Smith, came up to Carmel and worked with me on Kristin’s house, doing some of the little jobs that the inspection report showed needed to be done when we bought the house earlier this year. Our dear friend Pat has also been working feverishly trying to get the mandatory stuff done – but I have been out of town a little off and on, so things have taken a little longer than I initially thought they would.
Anyway it was great to see Steve, who was the Dean of the Seminary I attended, and we had a great time catching up with all the news from his travels; and mine. He has supported himself in his ministry endeavors by building homes and so when he had a day open and was in the area, he was a natural to work with me. He checked things over from the inspection report and made several suggestions of things that should be done to keep water away from the foundation of the house. One of the things he suggested, I went over to work on today.
As luck would have it, Connor, our oldest grandson, was around the house and he was kind enough to help me. Not that it was any huge deal, but it was nice to spend several hours with him. We basically moved dirt from one flower bed to raise a low spot on the side of the house that was always wet because it had been graded incorrectly when the house was built.
Working with Connor brought back so many memories of my childhood working with my grandfather. I would do whatever needed to be done, much like Connor today, and truly learned about yard work at the knee of Grandpa. So Connor and I trimmed a few perennials, raked a few flower beds, and filled in some low spots. He was a great helper and never complained, not even once! He must be getting a little older and who knows, maybe he even cherishes the time with me, the way I do with him.
When I used to work with Grandpa, we would get done and he would reach into his pocket and hand me a dollar. That’s right – a dollar. Whether I worked one hour or the whole day, it was the same. As he handed me the money, he would say, “You do things for family – you always take care of them…” The money was a sign of his appreciation for my effort to help him – something he did because he wanted to, not because he had to. It taught my brothers and me a great lesson. The bond of family is a special one – not like when you charge somebody else for your labor.
Over the years, I have been so taken by those days in the yard that I decided to start that tradition with our grandchildren. I started it earlier this spring when Kristin and the boys first moved into their new home. Today, when we were done, I reached into my pocket and gave him two dollars. At first I thought one would suffice, but you know what, I felt a little bad, what with inflation and everything. The best part about the whole thing was that he didn’t ask ahead of time if he would get paid – and he was thankful that I acknowledged his effort to assist me. Oh, how 50 years has changed my perspective – from student to teacher. It just turned out great…. I never really like to work alone and so he also became a companion for me.
Those times have become somewhat sacred. The boys need a positive male influence in their lives – and Kristin is a wonderful Mom, but she can’t fulfill all the needs that the boys have and there are just some things that she either doesn’t know how to do or isn’t gifted in. And I’m sure that there will plenty of additional opportunities for the boys and me to spend time together in the yard.
The verse for tonight is from 1 Tim 3:4-5, “He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)” My encouragement this evening is that your children are watching to see how you act under every circumstance. Modeling good behavior and sound judgment are of paramount importance – and you can do this well. My prayer is that you will be a terrific parent or grandparent, or even great grandparent – and that you will continue to model a God centered behavior that will instill values and a lifetime of service to the God of all creation. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…