That’s how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become “one flesh.” This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband. Ephesians 5:29-33 (The Message)
I have been trying to eliminate the word, s*&t, from my vocabulary ever since I accidentally used it while narrating the dress rehearsal of the church Easter pageant. It’s been hard, but I’m trying. Today, though, that was about the only word I could think of. I spent part of the morning weeding and pruning my poor neglected flower beds. The long hot summer did not treat them kindly. Everything really needs to be pulled up and replaced with new plants. But, after blowing my savings and then, some on wool and glass last month, that’s not an option. I was wishing I had some fertilizer and mulch just as husband left to go have lunch with some of his friends. But, first, he reasoned that since we decided not to let the horses in the front pasture anymore after Trucker’s great escape, it would be a good time to clean up all the manure piled out there. And, it would be even better if I did it while he was gone. Yeah, right. Hold your breath. While horses are pretty fastidious housekeepers, setting aside places to sleep and eat, and not messing up those areas with waste, there was still plenty. A line along the front fence, several huge sections of the pasture and a place under the pine trees were littered with manure. I decided to wait for it to rain again and hope it all washed away. But, after he left, I surveyed the sorry state of my garden and my checkbook and inspiration struck. Perhaps it was annoyance at husband or desperation, I don’t know, but I decided to clean up all the manure and pine straw and fertilize and mulch my flower beds! Horse manure is not as good as cow manure for fertilizer, but if it is aged, it works okay. This manure had been out in the pasture in the summer sun for several months. Some piles were so old that they were bleached almost white. Most was dry and crumbly. All I had to do was invest some time and energy and I would have what I needed without spending a dime. Easier said than done. I shoveled five manure cart loads full of manure, emptied them one at a time on the beds, and then, raked two carts full of pine straw. My shoulders and back are now killing me, but my flower beds are ready for winter, and hopefully I will have some blossoms by Christmas. Even after all that work, there was still manure left in the pasture. I thought about putting up a sign that reads, “Free Manure. You Pick.” Surely out there are still some folks who would invest in swampland sight unseen. The kind that paid Tom Sawyer to paint his fence? Alas, none came forward so I finished the job, spreading the manure under the oak trees in the back pasture. Husband is happy. Good thing he doesn’t know what’s underneath all that pine straw.