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Mud on the floors…

Margaret and I were having coffee this morning when she spied the glimmering silver lines of a enormous spider web by the tree in front of the porch. When I say enormous, I mean huge. It extended from the lower canopy of the tree all the way to the ground. Although it was so large, you had to look carefully to see it as it waved in the spring-like morning breeze. It was the perfect trap for other insects and guaranteed our little eight-legged friend a hearty meal.

What truly amazes me about spiders is the seriousness and speed with which they work. We’ve had the privilege of watching one up close every evening for the last couple of years. I don’t know if it’s one of the offspring from the previous year, but it’s always the same species as far as I can tell. Then again, I’m no etymologist and Margaret’s content to watch from her chair, which is always a safe distance away.

We are always a bit awed by how quickly the little guy can get up, down, and across what looks like nothing but air. What’s amazing is that he does this night after night and in the same spot. In the morning the web will have disappeared somehow, and he must go about his business every night. It doesn’t seem to bother him that his fastidious work is needed each evening. He seems to have the idea of ‘one day at a time’ done pat. I could learn a lot from this tiny arachnid.

I came in the study and discovered it would be necessary to mop the floor before going any further into my day. We were blessed by a pretty good rain (for July anyway) yesterday afternoon. We haven’t yet figured out how to train the dogs to wipe their feet when they come and go through the doggy door. Thank God for laminate flooring.

In the spring, I tend to complain a lot about the continual mopping that comes with three large dogs and the springs rains. I begin to grumble over and over, forgetting that the day will come when I wouldn’t mind cleaning up after them at all. Today is one of those days! We’ve gone from above-average precipitation to moderate drought and burn bans in the span of two months. When the thunderstorm came yesterday, all I could do was sit on the porch, watch it fall, and say a prayer of thanks.

One of the few things I remember from high school science class is that “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. I don’t know if that’s still true. It’s been forty-plus years and many changes ago, but it has sure been my experience. My dad always called it the ‘law of sowing and reaping’ and I can get with that. I love to work in my garden. If I sow good seeds, I get a good harvest – simple as that – and every blessing comes with a responsibility. We were blessed with rain and now I need to mop the floor…

I’m learning how to plant better seeds on a personal level, but I sometimes forget that responsibility comes with blessings. In the Torah of the Hebrew Bible, God asks Abram (later called Abraham) to pick up his belongings and head for a land where God says, “I’ll make you a great nation and bless you”.

Sometimes however, I overlook the end of God’s talk with Abraham, “All of the families of the Earth will be blessed by you”. Maybe I’m stretching a bit, but what I hear is “I bless you in order to bless others”.

Blessing with responsibility. Go figure…

Sometimes the word ‘blessed’ seems so ‘churchy’ and trite. I prefer words like ‘gifted’ or ‘graced’. I’ve been on the receiving end of a multitude of gifts and I’ve come to understand that everything in my life is grace. I can’t help but ‘re-gift’ or extend the grace I’ve received. ‘Re-gifting” has somewhat of a dubious reputation at times. I guess it depends on the gift. The one I’ve been given is priceless, so I don’t feel bad about re-gifting.

It is my responsibility to pass on what I’ve been given so freely. Not only is it just responsibility, but it’s a life lesson. I get to learn the joy that comes from giving, and the freedom from the lie of scarcity that seems so prevalent today. The more I give, the better I am. Life becomes different the more responsible I become.

The irony is that I receive so much more than I could ever give away. That’s the amazing thing about grace. I guess I’ll think about it some more while I mop the floor…

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