Sunday, April 21, 2013

Hiding Behind Beauty

Tonight, our family went outside and did some yard work. While I was blowing leaves and thinking, I remembered how many times a blog post has popped into my head while doing yard work. Sometimes the life and spiritual applications I see while pulling weeds or planting flowers jumps out to me and I can hardly wait to get into the house to type it up.

While wielding the leaf blower tonight, I was admiring my work. After all, it takes some skill to really blow the leaves well. Without some practice, you just create a leaf tornado. They blow up into the air, get stuck in your hair and fly in every direction. After years of doing our leaf blowing, I’ve acquired a talent for sort of ‘sweeping’ the leaves with the blower and pushing them exactly where I want them to go.

At one point, I was standing in our flower bed, one foot behind the rose bush to blow the accumulation of crispy leaves out from the back of the flowerbed where they had piled up against the house. I began thinking about the spiritual implications of hiding behind the rose bush. How often do we ‘hide’ behind beauty (our best traits, our physical appearance, our talents) when there is a lot of ugliness going on behind the scenes? How often do people only see what’s on the outside when there is a struggle going on at home? Maybe you’ve got a spouse with an addiction or a child who is giving you gray hairs with their behavior. Perhaps you’re facing a legal problem or financial stress or trouble at work, but no one would ever know because they only see your pasted on smile, your success, your big paycheck or your fa├žade of happiness.

As I pondered these things, I had not quite nailed down how I would present it in writing. I was working on it as I stepped out from the flower bed and began blowing leaves in another part of the yard. I was brainstorming about the life applications of hiding behind beauty when I realized that I had little bits of leaves and twigs in my shoe. I shut off the leaf blower and reached for my slip-on shoe to shake out whatever was is in. And then I realized something. When I grabbed the sole of my shoe and pulled it off, I pulled my hand back and gagged. The smell hit me as I felt it mush between my fingers. When I stepped out from behind the beautiful rose bush, I must have stepped in it. Yes, THAT. We live on a corner lot and many neighbors have allowed their dogs to (ahem…) relieve themselves in our yard. And now, I had it not only all over my shoe, but my hand too! Yuck!

I had to stop and laugh. Not only at my predicament, but the way it had played out in my thinking about what I’d write. I quite literally stepped out from beauty into poop. Isn’t that just how life is? We may hide behind something beautiful but we all face our version of dog poop. I love discovering that all the people in life who I’ve at one point idolized or looked up to for ‘having it all together’ all face troubles. I’ve told my husband many times that we’re all dysfunctional in some way. Some people just hide it better. Be careful putting anyone on a pedestal or giving their opinions and words too much weight. After all, they may appear wise or like they have it all figured out, but they still get poop on their shoes sometimes.

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