As I walked along this morning, autumn leaves crunching underfoot, I was reminded of just how strongly I feel about those odious machines. Thinking of the characteristics that so annoy me I had a moment of clarity that revealed a surprising parallel.
Although I work in an office, not outdoors, leaf blowers can frequently be found among my coworkers.
Petty annoyances that may have been overlooked for a season are suddenly and loudly blown into a whirlwind of debris and grit by these office leaf blowers, disturbing everyone’s peace until they settle into a new pattern on someone else’s patch.
I confess to having been the leaf blower more times than I care to remember. There is something satisfying about airing one’s frustrations in such a way that they get blown into everyone’s eyes and become the responsibility of some other worker. But that brief emotional release doesn’t actually solve anything. Those annoying leaves may be blown right back in my face, as soon as the wind changes.
Is it ever justified to just blow one’s troubles onto one’s neighbor?
Every leaf that drops in my back yard comes from my neighbor’s tree. Perhaps it would be only fair if I were to blow them all back into his yard. Or, since I don’t own one of the dratted blowing machines, maybe I should just rake them into a bag and toss them over the fence? Of course not. Those leaves grow on a tree in my neighbor’s yard, but he doesn’t make them grow or make them drop. I don’t thank him when the first colorful leaves begin to decorate my fall garden, do I?
The fall display comes from God. I thank him for the beauty every autumn.
We are not limited to seeing only the colors on the trees in our own yards. Those golds, purples and reds are God’s gift to all who care to appreciate them…and they fall wherever the wind blows them. I have enjoyed the undeserved beauty. It is only right and just that I share in the inevitable decay.
Petty problems and little annoyances sometime begin as helpful processes or good ideas. They become irritations when they no longer serve their original purpose.
Just as I try to be responsible to rake up faded fallen leaves and either bag them, burn them or turn them into useful mulch, I need to accept responsibility for resolving the frustrations which fall into my life.
Recognizing and being grateful for all my blessings while accepting the responsibilities that come with them is a good way for me to avoid behaving like a leaf blower, ever again.
[originally posted October 2011]