Grab a bucket, sit on the ground and start pulling

Brenda Hopf

Connecting Faith and Life

One day during a lull from a long period of rain, I went out to get the mail. As I trekked across our rocked driveway, I noticed a rather large number of weeds emerging in several areas. I bent over, pulled some of them and they came out by the roots relatively easily due to the recent rain. Taken back to my childhood when manual labor trumped herbicides and weed-eaters, I grabbed a bucket, sat on the ground and started pulling.

I have a feeling our neighbors and the people driving by who saw my 61-year-old body sitting on our rocked driveway pulling weeds likely thought I had some of those rocks in my head. Some of you may be thinking the same. After all, within 10-15 minutes, I could have mixed some weed-killer and had the whole driveway sprayed, which would have been much easier and faster. My choice was not the easiest, nor the fastest; but the result it yielded, in my opinion, was much better. 

Is it not true that the majority of the time, most of us tend to look for the easy way to do things or search for shortcuts in life without stopping to think if the shortcut we are taking or what we perceive to be the easy way out will truly yield the best result? This is not to say that shortcuts or easier ways to do things are not okay in some cases, but how often do we stop to think about the quality of the end result before we act? 

An example that most of us can likely relate to is having a super-busy weekend and wondering how we are going to find the time to attend Mass.  Rather than Mass attendance being the priority, other activities take precedence. It seems easier to skip giving one hour of our entire week to come together with our community of faith to give thanks and praise to God; easier to skip hearing the Word for guidance on how to live; easier to skip witnessing a miracle take place on the altar of sacrifice; easier to skip receiving the fruits of that sacrificial miracle to take into our own bodies, to give us strength to go forth to fulfill our baptismal promises. 

Turning our backs on all of this leaves us more vulnerable to the weeds and evils of this world, thus putting us at risk of losing the beautiful gift of eternal life in heaven won for us by Jesus’ death on the cross. Yeah, that’s a mouthful; but that’s what we risk losing when we take the easy way out in this case. We have all taken shortcuts or the easy way out at one time or another when it comes to living out our faith through our baptismal promises. I humbly admit, in my experience, I have found that more often than not, these shortcuts do not yield the best results.

What if Jesus would have taken some shortcuts? What if He would have taken an easier path in living His life? The three years Jesus spent in public ministry gave us the Gospel stories that teach us how we are to live, but some of those days were pretty tough for Jesus. He could have skipped all that and left us with no guidance. It certainly would have made His earthly life easier, but that wasn’t the plan His Father laid out for Him. The plan His Father laid out for Him had no shortcuts and was not easy, culminating on the cross. 

Jesus is the perfect example for us to follow. So, what do you say? Let’s grab a bucket, sit on the ground and start pulling. When it comes to our faith and fulfilling our baptismal promises, let us always strive for the best result, even if the path is not easy.

Brenda Hopf is a member of Divine Mercy Parish in Dubois County and also contributes to the “Sharing the Load” column in The Message.