Thursday, January 19, 2012

When Someone Other Than God is Watching

There is a tree-lined public pathway that runs along the southside of my house. I suppose you could call it a shortcut to the main road, Yonge Street. However, I think if you were to time yourself taking the path versus the street, the path probably only saves you seconds rather than minutes.

The public path a few weeks ago

While I will be the first to admit that I use this path often, I find that it is more of an
 inconvenience to me than a convenience.
 For two reasons...

Firstly there are no garbage bins along the path. I  have called the city to request one, but they told me that having a garbage bin would "attract too much garbage". Hmmm... really? Anyhow with no bins, the garbage often ends up being thrown or blown into my backyard.

Secondly, since some of  the city trees overhang my property, it is my responsibility to trim them
back on my side when they become overgrown during the summer
 and rake the leaves when they drop in the fall.

So, I was delighted a few weeks ago when the city works department came along the path and not only trimmed the trees, but pruned them back. To almost nothing. Less yard work for me!

The pubic path today

Last week while I was upstairs cleaning the window in my sons bedroom,  I noticed something. Somethng I'd never noticed before in all the five years I've lived here.
I noticed the view. I could now see the neighbourhood all the way to the main road and beyond. Wow.

I noticed something else too. I found that I could see into some of the rooms of my neighbours house (which is lovely I might add). They seem to have a flair for interior design.

The removal of the city trees had given quite me the vantage point

For a while I stood there checking out the scenery, but then it hit me. Oh no... no, no, NO!

I rushed downstairs and ran out into the backyard.  Once there, I lined up the chairs neatly on the deck. Covered up the empty rabbit hutch with a tarp. Straightened the crooked bird feeder and added some bird seed. Put away the ladder from the pool. Hid the lumber from last years deck project under the stairs by the garage. and returned the boys bats and balls to their rightful home, the toybox. Phew.

So you're probably wondering what initiated the sudden frantic backyard activity. Well I'll tell you. I suddenly became aware of the fact, that if I can see my neighbours house so clearly, then they can also see mine. And if they can see mine, then they will see that this quite ordinary, Contrary Mary doesn't grow a such a great garden after all. Or keep a tidy house. And now the whole neighbourhood knows 

Isn't it funny how we change our behaviour when we think others are watching.
We have to keep up appearances.

Take reality shows for instance. You have to laugh at them. The producers want the stars to "be themselves" and "act normally" in front of the cameras. But we all know they don't. They will either be super nice or behave really badly just to boost the ratings.

And it happens in real life too. We keep ourselves in check when there are people around us.We choose different clothes, put on make up, tidy our homes, edit our words, make different decisions and moderate our behaviour when we're in public. And so we should.

But what if who we are in public, is nothing like who we are in private? What then?

The bible gives some insight. 'Then the Lord said to him, "Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of wickedness..." (Luke 11;39)

Jesus was referring to the religious leaders who outwardly seemed good and did what was right, but inside their hearts were evil. He tried to teach them that their inner character mattered more to God than their outward appearance.

"The Lord does not look at the things that people look at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. "(1 Samuel 16:7 )

 God is Omipresent and He sees everything all the time. He can see above all the privacy trees,
 but is mostly concerned with the matters of the heart.

He's doesn't care how my deck chairs are lined up, but would like my attitude fall in line with the teachings of Jesus. A crooked birdfeeder is insignifcant compared to a crooked and deceitful heart. I can hide the lumber anywhere, so long as I don't hide from His truth. Do you see where I'm going with this?

This is liberty, at least for me. Most people close to me know I'm no Suzy Homemaker. Things are rarely if ever in place. And nothing matches. I can't keep up. I have lots of friends who have really lovely homes and one day I hope to have one too. But right now the only interior renovation work will be taking place deep within my heart. Where only God is watching.

And in the meantime you will find me walking up and down the public pathway sprinkling
Miracle Gro on the soil and praying this miracle will work.


Mad Kane said...

LOL Funny post! The very thought of someone seeing into my house ... oh the horror! :)

I stopped by to congratulate you on winning an Honorable Mention in last week's Limerick-Off Great job!

Brian Miller said...

oo nice...reali life example turned into a metaphor...and we probably would have done it as well and not even thought about it like this...nice one elaine...

emily wierenga said...

lots of wisdom here, friend. i like how you see the world :)

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