Choices
The Value of a Nail Gardening…. I enjoy it but it’s harder for me to do every year. My wife loves to garden, it helps keep her in shape and supplies us with a lot of produce that we would otherwise have to buy. The problem is she likes it too much, every year we seem to be planting more than the year before. This year our little garden space has grown to 17 x 50 feet, which I have to til with our tiny 9 inch rotor tiller. That’s a burden I really don’t look forward to since it is sheer pain to til all of it. It wouldn’t be so bad IF the tiller worked, which it wasn’t. In fact, it was our second one, the first one was more trouble than it was worth. It was under warranty so we exchanged it; all was fine last year, then I put it in storage. The real trouble started this year when I got it out and tried to start it. If you’ve ever tried to start a small 2 cycle engine that doesn’t want to start you know what I mean. By the time I gave up jerking the rope and giving up in disgust I was burning mad. We had about 85 pepper plants ready to be planted and about that many tomatoes, along with various other veggies and herbs. My first thought was to get my sledge hammer and beat it to pieces, but I finally thought better of it and took it to a repair shop. A week later I called them to find out if it was ready, which it was (seems like they could have called me), and I promptly went and got it. It cost me $70, which was annoying since it had only been used once but was now out of warranty. But I paid it and took the tiller from hell home and started working, way behind schedule. 30 minutes later I had it back in the shop because it wasn’t much better than it was before I took it in. My hope was to show them what it was doing now that it was warm. That was a foolish thought, as my luck would have it the service guys were out to lunch which required me leaving it. 2 days later I called them to be told that it was ready. With gardening on my mind I went to get it. My first hint that something was terribly wrong was when they told me to go into the shop and talk to the mechanic. With an embarrassed look he told me that he simply had no idea what was wrong even though it was acting up for him just like it had for me. This was disappointing, but I had been in service myself for a long time and I knew how he was feeling and what position he was in. It ran, just not right so I took it home resolved to finish my tilling even at reduced speed and capacity then beat it to pieces after the work was done (I was back to that mindset again). Then after I was going along well, maybe a 7 x 17 patch to go then I was done it started making a horrible noise. Upon examination I found that the muffler had fallen off, annoying but not fatal, or so I thought. Tools in hand I took it apart ready to reattach the errant muffler but imagine the look on my face when I found that the bolts that were supposed to be holding the muffler had been twisted off and the muffler was held on with wire. On second thought, this is a Christian site, don’t try to imagine the look on my face. By now I was madder than ever but still all could be saved if I went to Lowes and got a new bolt. I had managed to extract one of the broken ones and decided that if I could replace that one it would hold it. So I boiled and fumed all the way over to Lowes, cussing and growling, not being very Christian like. It is necessary that I change gears and relate something that happened a few days earlier that I had no idea was connected to this mess. We were getting into the car to go someplace when my wife reached down and picked up a nail in the driveway. “This is just what we need” she said as she dropped it into the cup holder thingy between the seats. Ok back the epic of the tiller. I cussed and growled while I looked hopelessly for an open disabled spot. That made me even madder. I grabbed my broken bolt and jumped out of the car ready for battle (the usual routine at Lowes was that regardless of what hardware I need it will be the only thing they don’t have.) That only served to make my vitriolic mood worse. Then it happened… one of those things that make me want to cry, laugh, kick myself, and stand in speechless awe all at the same time. I opened my hand to look at the broken bolt, and saw….. the nail. At that second I felt like someone had dumped ice water on my head, slapped me, grabbed me and shook me severely. Somebody probably saw me crying and wondered what was wrong with that nut. But I wouldn’t have seen them, my eyes were only on that nail, dark and rusty in contrast to my hand. It was a testament in itself. Here I was fuming and griping about a silly screw because it ruined my day. The realization that Jesus had had a much worse day over nails than I was having over a bolt. It occurred to me that my burden was this tiny garden spot compared to the burden He had was ridiculous. The pain He went through over nails compared to the annoyance I was going through was beyond measure. I suddenly found myself very ashamed and feeling low at Lowes. I was reminded that being beaten, spit on, kicked, stripped naked, whipped, and killed probably didn’t count among His list of favorite days yet still He suffered it with grace. I rolled the nail in my hand, remembered grace, and resolved to use it. My wife’s words were very true when she said “this is just what we need.” In fact it was EXACTLY what I needed. I had been burning mad, wanting to scream at everything and find a small furry animal so I could kick it. I could feel my blood pressure going up. The last day I had like that was December 3, 1994, a day which very nearly killed me and a day which still affects me every second of my life now. I did NOT want another day like that. This nail provided just what I needed to bring me back to the human race. With the nail in my pocket and my and on the nail, I went in. To make a long story short, they didn’t have the bolt I needed but the manager exchanged my whole tiller and gave me a new one even though mine was well out of warranty. He said he wasn’t supposed to but that he believed me and wanted to help out. With my fingers on the nail, I thanked him, as gracefully as I thought I was capable of. I had went in expecting to be ridiculed and refused, I came out with a new tiller, that incidentally, was grace on the managers part. Grace is, after all, deserving something bad and getting something good. I was supposed to throw the nail in the first trash can I ran across. I have changed my mind, I’ll keep it as a reminder. Now all I had to do was wait until the stupid rain stopped, it has been raining straight for days and days here. But I guess I don’t have much of a case there either. Noah was probably a lot more fed up with it than I am, but that’s a talk for another day. I remembered that my gas can was empty so I put it in the car and headed for the station, nail in pocket. I regret to say that it cost me $14.50 to fill my 5 gallon can. Dope that I was; I filled it too full. It’s an old can, the little yellow cap to let air out is missing which caused gas to be splashing out all over my wife’s explorer. What to do? Once again I was saved by the nail. (notice the play on words there), I took it from my pocket and dropped it into the hole, thus stemming the flow of gas. There is another lesson in that, but I haven’t figured it out yet. That reminds me of one more point, God leaves us lessons all over the place in all sorts of ways, its important that we learn to see them. This one was taught and learned with one rusty nail.
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