For a couple hours yesterday and several hours this morning I joined Mark at his parents cottage/garden. It's a work in progress and we were helping them move piles of rock and dirt from one place to another. Sounds simple enough, but it was pretty serious. Brought back memories of trying to create a yard from a hillside at Mom and Dad's place a couple summers ago. I've a feeling I'm going to sleep REEEEALLLLYYY well tonight. There's nothing like some seriously hard work to make me feel like I've accomplished something. Even if the pile did seem to be eternally growing bigger, rather than shrinking, it was so fulfilling to know that I was making progress.
I really wish more things in life were like that. That you could actually see the progress you're making. That everything you're doing would look like it counts for something. Sometimes, when Mark was pushing the wheelbarrow and I was alone by the pile, I would attack it with a spade to loosen things up. When he would come back it would almost look as though all the work we'd been doing was for nothing. The loosened dirt would completely fill the space we'd just cleaned out, but as we kept out it we could tell we really were helping out the situation, cleaning things up. Sadly life isn't really like that. We can clean one day and three days later it's as though we'd never done a thing. We can reach out to people over and over, and find that they are still just as resistant to our help or friendship. So often it feels as though nothing we do really has any impact on those around us at all.
I was listening to a pod cast from my church in Hong Kong yesterday and the message was about taking time out to listen to what God is saying to us. I know that I often end up making my life so busy that I don't take the time to really listen to what He's saying, to see the situations around me where I can be making more of a difference. She said also how, when we want to reach out to people it's easy to see the sheer number of people who need love, who need a savior, and to be overwhelmed by it all. And when we look out and see how much there is to do, like when we see the mountain that just keeps growing rather than shrinking, it's easy to become so exhausted that we quit trying all together. A better way to do it is to think of one person, or maybe two, and to really concentrate on them. To see what God is asking us to do to make their lives better, and to meet them where they are. I can't expect them to be comfortable in the same places where I am comfortable, but must honestly reach out to them in their own places of need. It encouraged me. Sometimes I find myself wondering what purpose I'm really serving here in the Czech Republic. Am I really serving the people God is bringing into my life? That's the question.
So tonight, I'm going to sleep well. In the morning I'll wake up with that good ache. The one that says I've done something productive. And as I take each pain filled step I want to be thinking of how I can reach out to that person or two, how I can meet them where they are and make a difference. It might not be huge, I might not see the mountain move, but all I can do is listen to God's voice and do my best to follow where He leads me.