"You can be glad in the same pants you are mad in."
One of the advantages of COVID-19 has been more time to devote to my shed project. After months of seemingly endless labor, I was very happy to nail the final shingle on the roof in early July. (More accurately, it was Melissa who did the honors. I don’t do ridge tops.). Of course, one project leads to another, and after the shed was complete and the paint had dried, the area around it looked pretty shabby.
Another project commenced. I raked and smoothed the ground. I laid landscape fabric. I spread two tons of gravel. I planted ferns, flowers, and a dogwood.
Finally, the shed is done.
Of course, while it is possible to “finish” a shed, plants are never finished. Throughout their life, they grow, meaning that they need regular attention.
Like being watered.
And, like us, they all have slightly different requirements. This became painfully obvious to me a couple of weeks ago in the midst of a long streak of triple digit heat and no rain. Some of my plants were flourishing. The dogwood was wilting. The ferns looked like they had just been removed from the broiler. It took me a while to process. I had been watering every other day since the day they were planted. Why were some healthy, and others on death’s door?
Like plants, we are all unique. And just as the plants in your yard all respond to weather conditions differently, so we have all responded differently to the conditions of the past several months. Some are depressed. Some are angry. Some are quarantined in their homes, while others are crowding the stores. Some are despondent. Others are joyful.
Unfortunately, we can’t change who we are. Like plants, we have different requirements and different adaptations and tendencies. Unlike plants, however, we can control how we respond to the conditions around us. In Philippians 4:4, Paul, right before telling the church not to be anxious, says this:
4 Rejoice[a] in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
What a powerful reminder that while we cannot control the forces at work around us, we can control our response. We can’t control what school will look like this Fall for our kids, but we can be thankful for our children. We can’t control what stores are opened and which are closed, but we can rejoice that we have clothes to wear. We can’t control what our lawmakers decide, but we can celebrate the freedom we have in Christ.
My wife has a sign that hangs on her wall that says, “You can be glad in the same pants you are mad in.”
It’s a sign meant for elementary age children, but it’s one I need to recite every day. My plants don’t have a choice. They simply respond to the conditions around them. You can choose. I pray you choose joy today.