My yard was scheduled to have lime spread on it the next day. Unfortunately, it was covered with leaves, and I didn’t want the lime sitting on the leaves. I wanted it in the dirt.
I don’t use a leaf blower to gather my leaves. Rather, I use a riding lawn mower to vacuum them up. With it, I create a tall mountain of leaves in front of my house. I have this silent competition with my neighbors that I have the tallest pile of leaves in the neighborhood (you can understand why I am in counseling – LOL).
Because of all the rain we received, I had only one day to do it. When I got home late from work, it was dark outside. I had to use the lights on the mower just to see what I was doing.
There was a further problem. There were so many leaves, the grass catcher quickly filled up which subsequently clogged the vacuum chute. After cleaning it several times, I had an idea.
I took the handle from the floor jack I used on my car and attempted to clean out the chute. It didn’t work because it was too short. Not knowing what to do with it, I placed it in the grass catcher and continued mowing leaves.
To maximize my time, I shove the leaves deep into the grass catcher bins. Here is where I got in trouble. When I dumped the leaves, the jack handle came out at the same time. I never heard it hit the street because it landed on the pile of leaves.
I finished mowing the leaves and remembered I didn’t remove the jack handle from the catcher. When I went to retrieve it, it wasn’t there. It could only be in one place; the mountain of leaves I created.
It is now 7:45 p.m. and pitch-black outside. I am on my hands and knees trying to find it. No such luck. The only thing I could do was to bag up the leaves to find it. I’m sure my neighbors thought I was crazy as I was scratching at the street, trying to find a handle I couldn’t see.
Having had only two protein shakes all day, my blood sugar was off and so I went inside to eat. Not to be deterred, I went back out and committed to four more bags of leaves in addition to the eight I already filled. I am president of our homeowner’s association. I’m sure this didn’t help my approval rating.
As I got to the fourth bag, my hand landed on the handle. In the pitch darkness, it was invisible. Yet if I gave up and the city vacuumed up my leaves, I would have broken the machine and been liable for the damage. I was determined.
This reminds me of the scripture verse that says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” I searched for the handle with every ounce of my being. I could not afford to break a piece of expensive city equipment.
There have been times in my life where I was like Jacob in the Old Testament, wrestling with the angel and not let go until he told him his name. I have had situations where I said to God I had to know. I had to understand. The answers didn’t always come. What did come was the reality of His love.
The next time I vacuum leaves, I’ll get a long stick. It will never go inside the grass catcher. I’ve learned that lesson.
I’ll be back soon. Until then, live well my friend.
The Rev. Tony Marciano is the president/CEO of the Charlotte Rescue Mission. Visit www.charlotterescuemission.org for details.