It wasn’t a needle in a haystack; it was a jack handle in a pile of leaves

My yard was scheduled to have lime spread on it the next day.  Unfortunately, it was covered with leaves and I didn’t want the lime sitting on the leaves; I wanted it in the dirt.  

I don’t use a leaf blower to gather my leaves.  Rather, I use a riding lawn mower to vacuum them up.   With it I create a tall mountain of leaves in front of my house.  I have this silent competition with my neighbors that I have the tallest pile of leaves in the neighborhood (you can understand why I am in counseling – LOL).

Because of all the rain we received, I had only one day to do it.  When I got home late from work, it was dark outside. I had to use the lights on the mower just to see what I was doing.  

There was a further problem; there were so many leaves the grass catcher quickly filled up which subsequently clogged the vacuum chute. After cleaning it several times, I had an idea.

I took the handle from the floor jack I used on my car and attempted to clean out the chute.  It didn’t work because it was too short. Not knowing what to do with it, I placed it in the grass catcher and continued mowing leaves.

To maximize my time, I shove the leaves deep into the grass catcher bins.  Here is where I got in trouble. When I dumped the leaves, the jack handle came out at the same time.  I never heard it hit the street because it landed on the pile of leaves.



I finished mowing the leaves and remembered I didn’t remove the jack handle from the catcher. When I went to retrieve it, it wasn’t there.  It could only be in one place; the mountain of leaves I created.

It is now 7:45pm and pitch-black outside.  I am on my hands and knees trying to find it.  No such luck. The only thing I could do was to bag up the leaves to find it.  I’m sure my neighbors thought I was crazy as I was scratching at the street, trying to find a handle I couldn’t see.  

Having had only two protein shakes all day, my blood sugar was off and so I went inside to eat.  Not to be deterred, I went back out and committed to four more bags of leaves in addition to the eight I already filled. I am President of our homeowners association.  I’m sure this didn’t help my approval rating.

As I got to the fourth bag, my hand landed on the handle.  In the pitch darkness, it was invisible. Yet if I gave up and the city vacuumed up my leaves, I would have broken the machine and been liable for the damage.  I was determined.

This reminds me of the scripture verse that says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”  I searched for the handle with every ounce of my being. I could not afford to break a piece of expensive city equipment.  

There have been times in my life where I was like Jacob in the Old Testament, wrestling with the angel and not let go until he told him his name.  I have had situations where I said to God I had to know. I had to understand. The answers didn’t always come. What did come was the reality of His love.

The next time I vacuum leaves, I’ll get a long stick.  It will never go inside the grass catcher. I’ve learned that lesson.

I’ll be back in two weeks.  Until then, live well my friend.