The Power of Dirt

What’s your dirt made of?  Depending on your geographic location you are probably going to answer that question differently than I am.  Dirt is a very personal thing and each of us has a different relationship with it.  Some of us barely notice it.  Others can’t stand it.  Still others can take it or leave it depending on its origin.

My wife for instance, has a keen eye for dirt.  She can spy a spot on my tie from two miles away.  She can sense dirt on my shoe before my foot hits the floor inside our front door.  Her relationship with dirt is very different than mine.

For me, dirt has a strange attraction.  If I move it finds me.  If I wash it won’t come off of me.  If it is mixed with water, it jumps on me.  To me, dirt is a strange thing.

I once worked with a man who mowed his grass in white shoes, white slacks, an oxford shirt, and a cardigan sweater.  I once borrowed a ladder from him and he came to the door dressed like that.  I apologized for breaking his peace and quiet and he informed me he just entered the door ahead of me after mowing his yard.  He didn’t have a spot on him!  Come to think of it, he didn’t even appear to have broken a sweat.  I took the ladder and soiled my shirt, while putting it in my pickup.  I ended up not using the ladder because it was too clean for me.

Too often we, as fathers, treat our families like dirt.  Sometimes we don’t even know they exist.  Other times we focus on the little speck that is wrong with members of our family and we pick and scratch at it until we fray the fabric of what is our family. 

No matter what we do to dirt, it is always dirt.  We can change how it appears to us, but it only morphs into something less unattractive to us.  In the end it is still dirt.  Not unlike dirt our relationships with our family members are often pushed and scrubbed and manupulated until the family changes into something more attractive to us.

I don’t like my relationship with dirt.  I would like to change it.  I would like to have a less individual relationship with the dirt in my life.  In other words, I would always like to stay clean.  I just don’t seem to have much control over it.  After over half a century of dealing with dirt I have decided to stop fighting it and try and enjoy it.  After all, when I was a kid I enjoyed playing in a good mud puddle.  I ran in the desert of Arizona and came home at night with a solid coating of fine powdered dirt.  I remember it as a lot of fun.

Unlike dirt, our relationships with our family can’t be washed off our hands.  We need to understand that God made us and he made our family members.  He didn’t put us in charge to change what he has made; he put us in charge of protecting and blessing what he gave us.

We are told that on several occasions Jesus used dirt to accomplish his plan.  In one case he was faced with a blind man, in compassion, he spit in the dirt and made mud which he put over the man’s eyes.  After the man went to the river and washed the mud off, he could see.  In another case Jesus was confronted with a crowd of people who were bent on stoning a young girl to death because of her apparent sin.  This time Jesus simply drew in the dirt with a stick.  After a few minutes there was no one left to accuse her. 

In neither case did Jesus put anything under a microscope.  He simply took what was before him and drew out the best part to change all of history.  It didn’t take a lot of massive change, nor did it take a lot of reading books or watching television psychologists.  He merely saw the promise in the dirt before him.

Fathers, what is your relationship with your dirt?  Step back and examine it with the eyes of compassion.  Can you see the promise?  If not, maybe it is time to return to that mud puddle you enjoyed as a child, and jump in.

En servicio como padre

Dave

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2 Responses to “The Power of Dirt”


  1. 1 Craig White July 19, 2007 at 6:33 PM

    Dave,

    I truly enjoyed your latest installment (the dirt on dirt). As in so many other areas of life, it seems as though our society tries to encourage us to arrange our priorities in a manner quite different from God desires abd instructs Such as working to live, rather than living to work).
    Sometimes, it helps to consider that our family is not technically our family. It is not a possession, but rather is a blessing which is on loan to us for an indeterminate period of time.

    To me, the Church Epistles are pretty clear on how the members of a family should treat one another and relate to one another. I won’t say that I have it down, but I do keep trying to achieve the standard.

    Like

  2. 2 David July 20, 2007 at 1:43 AM

    Thank you for your comments. Just about the time you think you “have it down” is the time God shows you a whole different dimension. One you never thought was possible.

    The biggest mistake we all make is to get in a hurry knowing we only have an “indeterminate period of time”. God knows exactly how much time we have and is more interested in true intimacy with us than how well we can follow directions.

    You are right on about living to work rather than working to live. If we learn to put our trust in Him, we don’t need to worry. God is the creator of the universe, do we not think He can take care of our daily needs?

    Thanks again for stopping by! I hope to hear from you again in the future.
    Dave

    Like


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