Saturday, November 13, 2010

Tough Life Reality

Life in this old world can be tough. This week has been a tough week for me. It has been a week filled with unexpected and difficult circumstances. Every week is tough for an arborist. Climbing trees, hauling heavy tree debris, grinding stumps, repairing equipment, all takes a toll on the body and often the bank account.

But this week the Lord seems to have thought that I needed some special tests to remind me of my dependency upon Him in all things. That is my guess anyway. He often does not provide any explanation for the things that He sends into my life, but I do know that in all things He works good toward me and that He uses all of the trying experiences in my life to call me to continual turning of my heart, mind, spirit, and life (often also called: repentance).

I have been working very hard the last few weeks, doing some very strenuous work, with many little challenges. Monday I completed an emergency tree removal for a lady who was concerned about the potential for property damage. It was a very large Bradford pear that was located between two houses. She also needed the stump and roots to be ground. It seems that the industry standard now is to grind a stump to 6-8 inches, but I grind much deeper in attempt to remove all of the primary stump and roots. Having finished grinding and cleaning the job site and loading a trailer load of logs, I set off to examine some trees and prepare some bids along the way home. I planned to finish cutting the logs to firewood size for a neighbor who needs the firewood to help her and her children save some heating expenses this winter.

However, my poor old pickup truck began to overheat and pump radiator fluid into the reservoir and then the street. I stopped, let it cool enough to open the radiator cap, and added water. But it was acting very strange. It kept over heating and it seemed that either the thermostat was stuck or that the water pump had quit. I ended up stranded in traffic hour one car length from a busy intersection. So I called the tow company. My cell phone kept cutting out, so the dispatcher misunderstood and sent the wrong truck, but we towed the pickup and trailer out of the way of the traffic into a parking lot. Then the driver called another driver with another truck. . . the process extended into the late evening.

I need my pickup, so I focused on getting it repaired. It took a couple of days to get it back from the shop and last night and today I am working to replace the hoses, since they are old.

But the next day, I cut the logs. I always wear my hard hat, with the face screen and hearing protectors. Yet somehow a small piece of wood became lodged in my right eye. I worked at flushing it with water for much of that evening, but it kept hurting and feeling like the debris was still in my eye. In the morning I went to the eye doctor. The good news was that I had managed to flush the debris from my eye. The bad news was that it did scratch the cornea. To prevent infection the doctor prescribed an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drop for 7 days.

This picture gives perspective to the size of the prescription. $ 62.62 !!! And that is for the generic brand. I’ve heard of medications that cost more than imagination allows, yet even this is outrageous.

The following pictures serve as a reminder of how difficult it is for a person to attempt to deal with issues affecting one’s own eyes.

Even taking these pictures was a challenge. Attempting to see debris in the eye was far more challenging.

I’ve had some other challenges this week as well, but the matter with the eye was by far the greatest. It brings to mind the admonition of the Lord Jesus in Matthew 7:3-5:

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

As I mentioned above, in all things, and especially in the challenges and trials of this life, a continual call to be turned again to the Lord sounds forth. The Lord is continually calling to us to be turned again unto Him and His mercy and love and providence. If we are listening, we recognize His calling to us and we are turned again and again throughout our earthly lives. Then, we learn to give thanks in all things, even in the trials and tribulations, even giving thanks for these gifts from God, as we learn in the General Prayer of the Church (TLH pgs. 23-24). Every Sunday I marvel at this prayer. I find myself reflecting upon it throughout each week. It is truly a marvelous prayer.

So today I give thanks for the life that the Lord has given to me and for all the blessings that He brings into my life, including these many struggles that cause me to be turned again to Him, even sometimes with the simple question of “Why Lord?” That simple prayer is truly a wonderful prayer, if it leads one back to the Scriptures to hear the answers that God has provided even before we ask. The answers are recorded for us, if we are willing to hear them and receive them. Ultimately, they all lead back to the preaching of Jesus Christ and Him crucified, and that is the one answer that we most need to hear.

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