I like a good project. I like to stay busy and be productive, but there is one job that is just NO FUN.
In fact, it’s the time of year when I’m tempted to hire a landscaper, just so I can avoid this terrible job.
It’s raking the leaves.
I never realized just how many leaves are on one given tree, until I try to rake every single one up and stuff it in a black trashbag. An entire tree into 10 trash bags is not a fun combination.
Granted, when we moved to this house it was one thing I liked about the area. The trees! It’s gorgeous and green, and it really is worth it in the end.
But….the leaves…they must go.
In fact, today was the day they had to go. It was a sunny 76 degrees outside, and for the next week or so we are forecasted rain every day. That means the piles and piles of leaves in my yard would turn to a swampy mess, and we just can’t have that. I even googled if I could leave the leaves….but they said it kills my grass.
Since I do like green grass, I decided I had to make it happen. Plus, the rain will be good for the grass if the leaves are gone.
So I got to work. I don’t know why I randomly start these projects at a bad time, but it was around 1:30 in the afternoon. Not a ton of time before school pickups and whatnot. Even more, I didn’t have enough bags to complete the job. Oh, and I went to the store….yesterday… hate that. Not the best planning on my part.
The girls were out there for a bit running around and jumping on the trampoline. I coerced them into helping a little, holding the bags open and carrying them away like Santa Claus.
The best part was, however, when Nora came out with a drink of water for me. Totally unprompted. Just the sweetest little act of service. My heart melted, and I gave her a huge hug. Leaves and service just go together. Isn’t there always a story about people being kind and helping rake someone’s leaves? Now I know why… it’s not the most fun.
Anyway, I got to work and bagged them all. I was tempted to wait until Michael got home. A) so he could see all the hard work and huge piles, and B) so he could help me. Bagging is the worst part.
But as I was out there in the open sky, with perfect weather, sunshine and happy kids… I thought, nope, I can do it. That’s what love is people.
Also, I thought a little more about leaves. I realized that it is so rewarding to be able to complete a task and see it DONE! It is so fulfilling. A lot of jobs (including motherhood) are so routine, and are constantly moving and rarely done. Raking and bagging leaves was one of those moments, I could stand back and say, hey… I did that. Might be simple, but I think those moments are really important for our self-worth and work ethic.
Michael has mentioned a few times how it is hard to consistently put out fires, address problems, and just keep up with the daily grind, with little acknowledgement, praise or that feeling of “I did that.” I’m proud of the hard hours he puts in to provide for our family. Shoot, maybe I should’ve left the leaves, so he could have one job to check off and feel awesome about!
Anyway, I was also thinking about leaves and just how overwhelming a job can feel. When trials or disappointment comes, it may feel like mountains, or just a dirty layer above your grass. It’s not until you start raking them up you realize just. how. many. dang. leaves. there. are. It doesn’t get easier, but there’s no turning back. It can be difficult in a trial to see the green grass underneath, and we may be tempted to just leave our problems in a big pile for someone else to worry about.
Even more, we may be trying to rake up our leaves, and the wind blows more down. It’s a little disheartening at times, but you keep pushing on. In our lives, when we feel so overwhelmed, it can feel like the trees are just adding more and more to our pile to clean up. But we can make a difference, one leaf at a time. I was surprised just how fast the piles disappeared when I finally committed to finishing the job.
When I was scooping up the piles, it made me smile because I thought of my dad. When we were kids we always did a lot of yard work. I think part of it was because he always had Fridays off of work, so there was a little more time for jobs around the house. I still remember the time he taught me to use my ankles to anchor the bag on the ground, and use both hands to scoop the leaves into the bottom of the bag, before tilting it up to fill the very top. It’s the little life lessons that make all the difference. I’m glad I had a family who taught me the value of hard work.
So, after 500 gallons of leaves being scooped up, I’d call it a good day.
After all the trials are piled up, responsibilities are piled up, if we begin scooping one bag at a time, we can do it! And that feeling is so rewarding. Then we’ll be ready for the blessings, the nourishment and the rain!