The Daily Telegraph reported the story of a gardener whom the House of Commons hired to strip 145 trees around Westminster Palace of their autumn foliage.
The gardener, Ms. Annabel Honeybun (yes, that is her real name), told reporters that this was a “more cost effective” way of doing business. It takes too long waiting for the leaves to go through their natural phases of turning from yellow to red to brown, and then raking them up. She explained that it was “all for the best.” Yet she left nothing behind but two rows of ugly stubs. A local environmentalist bemoaned that London is dreary enough in the autumn. These colors are “one of the few pleasures at this time of the year.”
Stripping autumn trees of their leaves – when they are displaying their most resplendent colors – is analogous to what we so often do with our lives. We are so focused on the next mission that we don’t allow ourselves a moment to enjoy any of life’s pleasures. We must ‘fast-forward’ through life’s lulls to prepare for the next crisis. How many golden sunsets have passed unnoticed because we’ve locked ourselves away in the office preparing for the long night? There’s no time for family, either. The urgent relentlessly demands our undivided attention. Forget those cherished moments. We have to ‘move them along’ to get to more important matters.
H. Jackson Browne was right when he told his son (in Life’s Little Instruction Book), “Spend as much time with your family as possible. Nobody on his deathbed ever said, ‘I wish I’d spent more time at the office.’”
“Let all that I am praise the Lord,” wrote King David. “May I never forget the good things he does for me” (Ps. 103:2, NLT).
Dear Father in heaven, open my eyes to the treasures that abound in my life. Help me to appreciate and cherish my spouse, my children, and my loved ones. Make me a blessing to them and a joy to You. Amen.