The Leaves Ballet on the Sidewalk

by Angelo Faleiro

Friday is the day to do a special cleaning at my house. My tasks are: washing the bathrooms and cleaning the garage and the sidewalk. All of these tasks alone would be boring enough, but to make things worse, my house is on a busy avenue, with lots of trees that, even in the summer, love to drop their leaves. Moreover, all the time, buses, trucks, cars and motorcycles pass in a, let’s say, fast rhythm. This causes large air currents that spread the leaves across the sidewalk of my house, almost like a ballet.

So every Friday, there I am on the sidewalk, carrying a little shovel, a broom and a garbage bag. All this equipment is to remove the leaves and dust that the wind and the movement of cars insist bringing.

Can you imagine the scene? I look like a crazy one. I gather the garbage. But when I take the shovel, there come a bus and the wind. So all my work seems lost. But I do not give up. I gather everything again and pray for a breeze not to blow or a motorcycle not to pass. Sometimes it works, and I can put the garbage in the bag. Sometimes, the leaves ballet is inevitable.

I recognize that is an almost useless battle. Something like Leonidas and the three hundred against Xerxes and his thousands. But one thing is interesting: in the end, even with a few leaves and some garbage remaining, the sidewalk is much better.

During one of these battles of mine, I noticed that cleaning the sidewalk in these circumstances seems very much like the process of sanctification. In our relationship with God, we want to throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and run with perseverance the race marked out for us. [Hebrews 12.1]. But we have within us a strong desire to do what doesn’t please God. These are the winds, buses, cars and motorcycles that pass along the avenues of our spiritual sidewalks. They insist on the mess so that we can not keep our lives clean, as God wants.

But as it happens to me every Friday, we should not give up sweeping the sidewalk just because the chances of it being perfectly clean are few. The leaves persist in their ballet. Sin insists on staying alive in me. But it doesn’t matter. I can not give up going away from what keeps me from God just because I know that, in this body, I will never be perfect [I John 1:10]. Or will I let the leaves do their show forever?

Since I associated the cleaning of the sidewalk with sanctification, my Fridays have become a moment of reflection, a time to ask forgiveness, to renew my commitment to seek a life that really pleases God.

The wind will always bring the leaves and their ballet back, like Bolshoi seasons. I have to decide whether I’ll be watching all that garbage moving or I will insist on doing the cleaning of the sidewalk, even if it’s in an imperfect way.

Angelo Faleiro writes for fun. He likes to think about christian life and our day-by-day, so he is always writing about matters people like to talk about. He graduatted in Psychology in 2005, is married and father of a boy. Email: Follow me @angelofaleiro.

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