There is a very large, dead tree in our neighbor's yard, or at least we thought it was in our neighbor's yard until it dropped a branch that ripped the wires out of our house. The wires were repaired, but we became concerned that another branch might fall and could possibly injure a child playing in the yard. So, we asked our neighbors to consider taking the tree down. They said they would if they knew the tree were on their property, but that they thought our property extended five feet beyond our fence into what looks like their yard. That's the first we'd heard of that, but we really aren't aware of our exact property lines and they could very well be right. So, we may be looking at spending an unexpected $2,000.00 to have the dead tree taken down.
This, just a few days before we are supposed to be leaving for our vacation in Cape Cod. To top it off, Hurricane Ernesto that is just now hitting the Florida coast is predicted to sweep the Eastern Seabord and threatens to give us a week of rain, wind, and rough surf at the Cape.
"Should I just cancel our vacation and use the money we were going to spend to take the tree down?" I asked my mother with obvious frustration and disappointment. "You tried to get out of your vacation last year too," she replied. Did I? What? Is that true?
Ah yes, and then it all came back. Last year, at exactly this time we were getting ready to go to Bedford, Virginia to a working farm we were renting for a week. Then, one morning on his way to work, Jeremy's car broke down and we were unexpectedly hit with a major repair bill. We really didn't have the money for the repair and so I felt guilty about spending money on a vacation. I had called my mother and asked her if I should cancel the trip to the farm.
Looking back, it is unbelievable to me that I had considered such a thing. The boys had such a wonderful time at that farm. It had over 200 acres for exploration. There were pigs, sheep, goats, cows, a horse, peacocks, rabbits, and even some newly born kittens in the barn. There were hay bales, fishing ponds, a tire swing, and a hillside cabin built in the 1700's (the inside looked just like the log cabins described in the "Little House" books!) Even the old farmhouse we were staying in was filled with treasures. There were old fashioned toys and games, a stack of Highlight's Magazines from the 80's to read in the evenings, a record player that worked and plenty of records (the boys called them big CDs).
We were never at a loss for things to do. We gathered eggs from the chickens in the morning for our breakfasts, fished in the afternoons, flew kites, hiked and explored. There was a one-eyed goat that jumped her pen each morning and followed us wherever we went. We had beautiful weather and a pic-nic every evening. One night we picked apples from the orchards and made a pie in an old cast iron fry pan. It was homey away-from-home and happy, happy, happy. The boys still talk about "our farm." How could I have thought to exchange those memories for temporary financial relief? We remember the farm. We did not remember the car repair. Somehow that got paid for, I don't remember how.
It appears that life's burdens and troubles will always be with us and so I shouldn't allow them to stop us from enjoying the better parts of life. I am resolved, now, to go to Cape Cod and trust that, rain or shine, we will build lasting memories there of these brief and precious years we have together.
"Martha, Martha," Our Lord answered her, "Thou art troubled and anxious about a great many things: But one thing only is needful: and Mary has chosen that better part, which shall not be taken away from her." Luke 10:41-42
Lord, help me to see all things from the perspective of eternity, to choose the better part, and to trust that you will help me resolve the temporary problems that can cause me so much anxiety. Amen.