Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:44-45 (NIV)
Our property was part of a larger parcel that was formerly farm land, but in the days before the county started curbside pick up of trash, the owners dumped their garbage on its back part. When the kids were little, they would drag bottles or old rusty farm implements home fascinated with their finds. It was like living in the midst of an archaeological site only all the remains were from two decades ago when food and medicines were packaged in glass bottles and people used things until they were too broken to use anymore. Someone who lived here took lots of patent medicine and drank large quantities of alcohol. Well, when I think about it, those were really the same things! When we built the barn, we didn’t do much soil disturbance, but we did use a tractor to drill the holes for the support posts. Sometimes, it brought up pieces of clay pipes used for underground irrigation at the turn of the twentieth century. My mother feared that we might find the remains of some early island pioneers. I always hoped for Native American tools or pots, but we didn’t have such luck. Now, that the kids are grown and the horses inhabit the land, there is no one digging out there anymore, but, what is underneath the ground continues to make its way to the surface. The horses’ hooves are hard on the soil and continually stir it up. I find something new after almost every rain. Mostly it is small pieces of glass in green, blue or brown. I love the old fashioned glass. It has a milky look to it and is thick and heavy. While it is pretty, I want to get as much of the glass off the ground as I can so someone doesn’t cut themselves. I worry that a piece will lodge in my horse’s hoof or a dog will slice one of their toes. As I picked up a few pieces this evening, I was thinking about these verses. My words get me in trouble often, and today, was no exception. I got an e-mail from someone and forwarded it to someone else with a snappy comment that I hoped would be funny and clever even though I knew it was really mean and wicked. Unfortunately, I pushed the wrong button and instead of forwarding it, I replied to the sender who promptly e-mailed me back and wanted to know what I was talking about. Ouch. Though I have worked hard to make a good impression on this person, I just set our relationship back several steps when I revealed who I really am, a woman with a false sense of pride, willing to make herself look good at someone else’s expense. I’ll be more careful of my e-mails in the future, but what I really need to tend to is my heart. If it is clean and full of love, I don’t have to worry about dumping garbage everywhere.