Sunday, March 4, 2012

Trails of Sawdust

Airborne drifts of sawdust swirled from the truck in front of me, bouncing off my windscreen, whirling like a wooden snowstorm. The sun had just set and the lights of vehicles behind me revealed that they too were enveloped in this trail of sawdust. The driver seemed oblivious to what was happening - or maybe he just didn’t care. The back of his vehicle was completely closed in and he probably assumed the wood was contained. I drove through flying wood chips for several kilometres until the truck turned off and I continued my journey home from the deep south of New Zealand.

When I got in my car the next morning, I noticed that bits of sawdust still clung to the windscreen and slivers of wood were lodged under the wiper blades. This was after travelling a further 200 kilometres past the truck.

There and then, God dropped a clear life lesson into my heart. We leak. This happens in the natural as we see in shows like CSI. Wherever we go we leave skin cells, saliva, sweat, tears, hairs, fingerprints. It’s almost impossible not to leave a bit of ourselves behind.

Then I realised that this shedding is not just physical. We may lock ourselves up emotionally and withdraw from others – but we still leak. Even without saying a word, we communicate attitudes and feelings to those around us. We make them feel loved and accepted, or despised and rejected. Indifference, hatred, admiration and encouragement can all be passed on without a word. It was a wake-up call as I realised anew how my life affects those I come into contact with – and how that effect may still be visible days, months or years later.

I think often of that trail of sawdust and pray that God help me to live carefully and choose life. I ask that the trail I leave behind will be one of mercy, grace and peace. That love, acceptance and joy will cling to those I pass in daily life.

Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
                                                                                                         Ephesians 5:15-16 (NIV)

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