Pride and Parakeets

I bet none of you have ever withheld praise from someone you love. I’m embarrassed to say, I did this recently. Just plain ugliness. My husband Rick is a man of many hobbies. I have three: reading, cooking, and going to the YMCA.

One of his hobbies is raising outdoor parakeets. Last summer, a virus struck his birds. All forty of them died. I found him in the backyard burning his bird atrium to the ground.

“I’m really sorry,” I said.

“I’m starting over. Building a new one. Some boards were rotten.”

“Why don’t you buy a couple of new birds and keep them inside?”

After he burned the house, I found him mixing cement–for footings and a new floor, he said.

“You mean, like a real house?”

“Yep.”

“Seems like a lot of work to me.”

Over the next few weekends, I pretended to read a book, but really, I sat outside studying my husband.

Trying to figure him out.

As the new house started coming together something came over me, but I didn’t tell him how I felt.

That I adored his eye for detail. His creativity.

Mostly, I admired him for not giving up.

For not taking the easy way out.

I would have.

Then one day he finished.

He’d stained the log siding to match our log house–even used the same tin roof!

What happened next completely undid me.

When he put Mr. and Mrs. Parakeet inside their new home, they scooted close together and kissed.

They weren’t shy about expressing their gratitude.

Clearing my throat, I walked toward my man and his new birds. “You amaze me. You did a beautiful job.”

“No big deal.”

“Yes it is. I should’ve told you sooner.”

We kissed like happy parakeets.

Me and my foolish pride.

Pride prevents praise.

Have you ever held back from praising someone? Please…somebody say yes.

Love,

Julie

I Should Have Known Better

One Saturday this April I decided to take up gardening. I thought about wearing gloves, but I didn’t.

I wanted to look tough like a real gardener, you know, get my hands dirty. And when my husband saw me working, he’d think, wow, she sure knows what she’s doing.

Ha! Huge mistake.

I spent hours pulling weeds around our house and along the edge of woods.

Over the next few hours/days/weeks, I developed a horrible rash–the kind that itches all day and wakes you from a dead sleep.

It started as red bumps on my knee, forehead, and eyebrow and spread to my neck and face. Blistered and oozing.

You’ve probably figured out what I had, but I was clueless.

I argued with my dermatologist. “It can’t be poison ivy. I don’t get poison ivy.” Growing up, I felt smug when my brothers and sister had it.

“That doesn’t matter,” the doctor said. “You can develop an allergy at any time.”

Stupid me! I’d spent a day hanging out with poison ivy–practically befriending the weed.

Warning! Warning! Leaves of three, leave them be!!

Poison ivy is sneaky. It doesn’t look the least bit dangerous. 

There were spiritual truths buried among these leaves.

1. When I ignore that Still Small Voice (wear gloves), I’m going to regret it.

2. When I work to get noticed or praised, my motives are wrong. Pride is involved.

3. Sometimes what trips me up looks incredibly innocent.

Be careful, my friends~

Thoughts on life? Spiritual lessons?

Who’s had poison ivy? What worked for you?

Love,

Julie