Once upon a time, a woman bought an estate with a large house, an expansive yard and a brooding forest in the acres beyond. The woman fell in love with the mansion, with arched porticos and terraced gardens along the side. After moving into the house, she entered the lawn to bask in the rays of the sun. Eventually, she approached the forest and found a hidden path with an old oak tree positioned beautifully in the middle. When she returned to the sanctuary of her house, she thought, 'I have finally made it in life. I have everything that I desire.'
One morning, when the light was not yet fully born, the woman stubbed her foot on the wall while making her way to the kitchen for a cup of coffee. Cursing, she rubbed her foot and stared up at the wall vowing to remove it before it did any more damage to her being.
Later, with swollen foot elevated on a chair, she called a remodeling company. When they arrived, she pointed to the offending wall. 'I want you to remove it. It's in my way.'
The remodeler, with hands on hips, shook his head. 'I can't do that, ma'am. It's a load-bearing wall. The structural stability of the house will be compromised.'
'I don't care,' she responded. 'I want it out.'
He refused, so she called in a less reputable company who would do it if she signed a waiver to release them of any consequences. Happy to have the wall out of the way, she agreed, and after the company removed the wall, she felt content.
Until cracks began to show in the ceiling. Calling the company back, she pointed above her. 'Why are there cracks in the ceiling?'
'Because you've had the structural support of your house removed. It was inevitable.'
'But... but... you should have told me!'
'You wouldn't have listened anyway.'
'What do I do now? My house is falling down around me?'
The man shrugged. 'Have you got a tent?'
And so the woman moved into a luxurious tent in the expansive lawn of her backyard. At first, she loved the thought of 'roughing it.' To feel the wind in her hair and to hear the night time noises was a wonderful change. Even though she felt a slight resentment for losing her house, she was happy with her beautiful lawn.
But the rains came. The woman could put up with the rain, but the grass began to grow, and continue to grow. Frustrated by the continual mowing and upkeep, she called a lawn care company.
'I want this grass removed,' she exclaimed. 'It's in the way.'
The lawn-specialist put his hands on his hips and sighed. 'You can't be serious. This lawn is beautiful and well-kept. People would die for a lawn like this.'
'I don't care. I want it out. I don't want to mow the grass anymore and I certainly don't want to pay anyone else to do it.'
With great sorrow, the lawn-specialist rolled up the sod one strip at a time and replaced the offending grass with white pebbles. The backyard glittered with light, day and night, and the woman felt happy.
Until the winds blew up one evening. Startled awake inside her luxurious tent, the woman peered outside and saw the pegs were beginning to pull up from the rocks. Her home was about to be unmoored in the fury of the storm.
With great fear, she wondered to herself, 'Now where will I go? I can't go back inside the house safely and I can't stay in my tent because there is nothing to hold it fast to the ground.' Grabbing her sleeping bag and her small stash of valuables, she ran across the pretty white pebbles towards the almost-hidden path in the forest. Wending her way into the forest, she piled her belongings as the rain began to teem down. Hastily, she constructed a crude lean-to of branches and leaves and then hunched morosely with her valuables underneath the makeshift shelter. As the storm raged overhead, she rued the fact she couldn't sleep in her mansion or even in her tent.
Finally, the storm passed and the morning dawned. But the darkness of the forest was frightening. Light was only filtering mistily through the trees. When she looked up, she saw that above her, were the beautiful oak tree branches that had kept the worst of the storm from her. Instead of being thankful, she was indignant that this large tree should be keeping the warm sun from her. Calling a tree specialist, the woman made her complaint.
'I want this tree removed. It's in the way.'
The woodcutter put her hands on her hips and looked up at the beautiful old oak tree. 'I don't think that's such a good idea. This tree is providing shade and shelter for you.'
'I don't care. I want it gone.'
Sighing, the woodcutter took out her chainsaw and began dismantling the ancient boughs. When finished, the woodcutter stacked the wood neatly along the path.
Now satisfied, the woman felt the last rays of sun on her face. Then, as dusk transformed into darkness, another storm blew up and the woman's shelter was destroyed.
The woman and her shelter had been in the way of the storm.
In this parable, what does the wall symbolize for you? The lawn? The tree? The storm?
I'll give you my own thoughts next week.