Those of you who are my friends on Facebook may have noticed some of the construction pictures I’ve posted (out of sheer boredom). If you’re not familiar with where I live, let me explain. Our street is split by a creek….literally. The street was built to run parallel to the creek on both sides. So, across the street from my house is a large grassy median with a deep creek running through it. Then, just past that, is another street with houses that face ours. It was a neat street to grow up on. Lots of trees, grass, bushes, crawdads (which I never played with) and there was almost always a swing hanging from one of the old trees (a swing made out of stolen water hoses….).
Now, though, time and erosion and pollution have taken their toll on our creek and it is nasty! Too much overgrowth, too much garbage and too much yard waste have created a flooding hazard for a few years. So, the city of Charlotte decided it was time to clean it out. The good news is that we’ll once again have a nice, neat creek area across the street. The bad news is that the construction is being staged on our street and will take a couple of years to complete! ACK!
On any given day, you’re likely to see all kinds of heavy equipment moving up and down our little road. We have a paving machine parked where we once had grass….along with a couple of bulldozers, a pile of dirt, a pile of rocks, assorted pipes, assorted other stuff I have no clue what it is, a large shipping container, a large dumpster and a port-a-potty! Ewww. It is a hot mess! The road is constantly covered in red mud, although they “sweep” it daily, and so are our cars. Two days after washing my van, there’s enough dirt on it to print the entire Bible, if you could write small enough.
As bad as all that is, here’s the kicker. The folks doing the construction tend to forget that this is where we live. They don’t share the road very well. And, quite frankly, if a dumptruck or bulldozer is meeting me head-on on the street, I figure they have the right-of-way, by sheer size alone. The funny (not haha) part of that is my husband. He despises it. And everyday complains about it. Every.Single.Day. If they are on our side of the street, he goes ballistic and swings us madly to the other side of the creek, complaining loudly. Which, in turn makes the dear daughter and I complain. (Now that she’s licensed, she knows FAR more about driving that her father and I with our combined 50 plus years driving experience. Yes, you can insert eye rolling right here.).
The complaining husband thing may surprise most folks. After all, he is the more mild-mannered of the two of us, by far. (Thank God He saw fit to make only one of us high-strung!) But complain he does. And actually gets angry, while I’m sitting there shaking my head at the absurdity of it. Why get mad? Anger won’t change the situation. And, truthfully, how hard is it to simply go the other way? Now, yes, I get irritated when the construction workers almost run me down, because that’s dangerous. But, hubby’s anger is different. He’s just ticked because it interrupts his regular pattern. Uh oh. Here we go again….yes, God, I hear you!
The truth is, although I get upset with the dear husband complaining about what he can’t change, I’m just as bad! Yes, I admitted it. Are you people happy??? No, the construction on the road doesn’t bother me, but there are plenty of things that I complain, whine, get mad or cry about that simply are not going to change. My emotions towards these things that bother me will not affect them. At all. However, my emotions do affect me. And my family. And my writing. And my prayer life. And my….get the point?
I’m pretty sure God expects us to get upset now and again. But, I’m certain that He expects us to rise above it. After all, hasn’t He given us the power to do just that? The Bible says, “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NASB). In everything. Those words hurt everytime I read them! But, it’s what God expects. I think The Serenity Prayer, by Reinhold Niebuhr, speaks well to this:
God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
It was only as I was looking up the Serenity Prayer to share here that I discovered that it is much longer than I ever knew. What a shame that the second half of this beautiful poem is all but forgotten about. It says exactly what I believe God wants us to “get.” Quit sweating the small stuff. Quit bellyaching. Quit complaining. Give thanks to God, in whatever circumstances you’re in, get up and serve Him. It will all work out.
So….what construction in your life has you upset? The answers to that question can be as varied as the people reading this. But, to all of it, God is saying “Trust Me. I got this.”
Be blessed and tell someone you love them! (even if they’re complainers!!!)
BTW….as a complete, off-the-topic side note: Clearly the spell check on WordPress isn’t southern. It marked bellyaching AND crawdads as incorrect! =)