“The Mending Fence"

"How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity!" Psalm 133:1 (NIV)

Fences connect people or shut them out. My neighbor, Mary, was a
connector. She was thirty years older than me, yet her energy
exceeded mine. Sometimes I sat on my patio, vegetating after an
exhausting day with my three young children. "Come on over, dear! We've got fresh corn on the cob!"

Mary was always inviting me over for some special treat or dessert.
I enjoyed visiting with her but I also craved solitude. One day
frustration reigned. I sent her a letter requesting that she leave
me alone at certain hours. I began to grow a lilac bush to block her
view of me on my patio so that she might miss my seclusion.
Then on May 17, 1980, a titanic calamity struck the US's Pacific
Northwest. Mount St. Helens erupted in southwest Washington
State. Tons of ash plumed up into the atmosphere. Winds drove its
bulk towards us in the Inland Northwest. Car engines burned up from
the suffocating volcanic cinders as the drivers attempted to reach
safety. The ash piled twelve inches high in places.

I woke the next morning to an eerie moonscape of gray. My eyes moved
across our backyard to one lovely object that cheerfully contrasted
with its dismal background. One pink Poppy had bloomed overnight
after the ash settled. Its pretty petals draped gracefully near the
white picket fence in the exact place where Mary and I would often
visit. God speaks through His creation. On that morning He spoke to
me. "Where you and Mary visit is precious to me. Banish your love of
privacy. Someday Mary will be gone and you will miss her."
Mary is gone now. This dear saint who led me to Christ is now with
Him in heaven, but the lesson of the pink poppy stays with me.

Prayer: Lord, strengthen us to be generous in spending our free time with
others. Help us not cave in to self-absorption because we build your
church by using available moments to encourage one another.

By Merilee, USA