Picking Up the Sticks

Spreading her wings above a large section of my front yard is a vary large and very old oak. My family and I have lived under her watch for over seven years now, and I’m convinced that there is a not messier tree in all of God’s creation. She drops her acorns in the fall, her leaves in the winter, and her pollen in the spring, but it’s her sticks and twigs that she scatters across my lawn on a daily basis.

I have to say that I’m embarrassed by my response to the routine. If there was ever any question that I have a perfectionistic, compulsive bent, it is surely answered every time I walk outside to my car. I imagine the neighbors gathering around their windows and rolling their eyes as they watch me succumb to my riptide desire for a clean front lawn, scurrying around as I gather the new day’s deposit like a mother baboon in preening mode.

I’m not exactly sure where to go with this thought, but something about it seems worth remembering. Maybe it’s another reminder to me of some other “less popular” repetitions in life such as cleaning the dishes or doing the laundry. Maybe it’s my desire to carve out at least one small niche of order within the chaos that is my property. Whatever the case may be, life consists of “messes” — both large and small, repetitious and random — and despite my frustration or lack of willingness, I believe that taking steps to bring “cosmos out of chaos” (to borrow a phrase for Madeleine L’Engle), is a fundamentally good thing. When viewed from a larger vantage point, it is the Gospel.

Back to the sticks…