We all have circles…in our lives we are surrounded by circles. As the boys and I raked the leaves in our yard the other day I noticed how as I raked around me and formed a pile of fallen leaves at my feet, it cleared a circle. Next to my feet was a pile of dead leaves and a ring of cleared grass lay around me.
Then as we each continued to rake I noticed that as we formed one pile after another eventually our circles touched each other. And gradually more and more of the yard was cleared of leaves.
It hit me that in our lives as we live and love we touch and influence the people around us. These are our circles. Everyone that I do life with on a regular, consistent basis influences me in some way and I in turn have an influence on them. What am I doing with that influence? It struck me that just as I am called to steward wisely the finances, time, and resources the Lord gives me…I am also called to steward well my relationships and the influence He has allowed me to have.
Am I loving well those I touch daily, with my words, my actions, my prayers, my service? Am I leaving those that I walk beside better off each day after their encounter with me? I am given the opportunity to speak words of life each day to my husband and children, to my children’s friends and my friends. Do I do that? Am I intentional in the way I interact with the check out girl that I see each week, with my boys’ teachers and the people I serve with at church?
I stopped the boys in the middle of their raking and tried to explain my epiphany. They looked at me with tilted heads and then ran off to slide from the treehouse into the biggest pile of leaves at the bottom of the tree. How can they understand? But hopefully they will see as they grow through the way I live. If I can simply love a few people well during my days here…and model how to love well, with grace and forgiveness and compassion and joy….prayerfully those that are within my circle will then respond by creating their own circles.
I can’t love everyone, touch each life, respond to every phone call, pray over all the broken hearts or bring the overwhelming number of hurting families a meal. However I can work hard to serve the people I see every day, that I brush elbows with in the hallways at school, that I see in carpool line, or worship alongside at church.
Raking my circles wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t always fun. It made my back kinda sore and rubbed some blisters. However, it served the greater purpose of clearing away the debris from the dying leaves and fallen sticks and pecans to make a path. We all need someone to help us clear away some dead areas in our lives to make space for new growth. It was much easier to rake my yard with the help of my boys too. I struggled holding the garbage bags open on my own. Filling them went much more quickly with lots of big and little hands. When we each took responsibility for our own circles, the yard was cleared quickly and then we filled our bags as a team. We can’t do life alone. We need each other…we need our circles to touch.
You know the best part though? In the midst of the raking and bending and stuffing bags…we made time to enjoy our hard work by sliding down that green slide into a huge pillow of fallen leaves. We turned the work of transforming our leaf covered yard into giggles and smiles. Just as the Lord of the seasons loves to take the hard work of transforming our lives from dead and grey to clean and vibrant into a celebration of relationships. The business of life on life relationships is hard, it is tiring, it can be raw but it is also, oh, so beautiful.
So my new perspective is this: Where is my circle? Am I loving well those that I touch each day? Am I intentionally stewarding the relationships and influence I have been given?