Before we rush back …

Last week I went for a walk along the shoreline and was shocked by what I found!  Where, just a week prior, a tall tree had stood there now was just a gnawed off trunk and a pile of wood chips.  As I walked further similar destruction laid along the path; several trees downed, and gnawed trunks left in their place.

I learned that Beavers do not hibernate and need to keep gnawing at wood to file down their ever-growing teeth.  Apparently, they stockpile sticks and bits of wood in case things become scarce over the winter months and they also become bored and simply gnaw down trees to keep busy.

This Beaver certainly had outdone himself, with at least 5 trees downed and plenty of sticks left to decay; it would seem he lived well into his reputation of being a “Busy Beaver”.

It all reminded me of our recent lock-down.

Since Boxing Day on December 26th, 2020 to February 16th, 2021 we have been in a State of Emergency in the province of Ontario with “Stay at Home” orders.  This was the longest winter in my life.  By the first of February, my home office felt half the size it did two months earlier- the walls just kept moving in closer and closer and closer.

The morning of Tuesday, February 16th I felt like a sprinter at the starting line ready to leap into action, but God had different plans.  A terrific snowstorm arrived shutting down buses, closing roads and keeping us stuck at home for one more day.

Much like that Beaver, I was ready to get out and be busy again!  I wanted to go to Winners, Michaels and the hair salon! There were pastoral visits needing my attention and I wanted to work out of the church office for the first time in weeks instead of my now very tiny home office!

Remembering the destruction the Beaver left behind because of his untamed need to be busy I paused to consider why I was so tempted to become busy again.

If we are not careful, we could jump back into bad habits for no other reason except to feel important, exhausting our finances, time and energy in the process.  Perhaps we should pause before jumping back in and ask ourselves some questions.

Nothing could be easier than to live our lives totally immersed in our busy everyday activities with only the occasional thought of what it all really means.

Lent arrived this week, a time when we are asked to once again make space for what is at the heart of our lives.  To look closely at what motivates our words and actions; to evaluate if we are truly living a Christ-like life.

May we not rush back without reflecting on how we want to spend the moments of our days.

Rev. Heather McCarrel
Port Elgin United Church