Monday, June 6, 2011

Gopher Holes

I figure that, if irrigation water had a brain, it would avoid gopher holes.  Let me explain.  One of my preferred boyhood chores was irrigating our orchard and field.  I liked the job because it set me free to drive the old pickup truck (I didn't have a license) the mile or so along country roads to open the gate that sent irrigation water streaming through a small system of ditches to provide the life-giving liquid to our fruit and pasture.  (For those of you from places where it rains more frequently, you can't imagine how necessary irrigation is when one lives in arid climes.)

For a time, my irrigation job included a small field on a neighbor's property just west of us.  It was there that I got a brief education about gophers and gopher holes.  At best, gophers are a nuisance.  At worst, they are destroyers of life as they tunnel under the surface of fertile soil and steal the life of otherwise good plants.

Photo gopher

This cute little fella looks innocent, but believe me, he's a destroyer.  He's also a reminder about life, which brings me to the point concerning irrigation water.  Numerous times I watched perfectly good irrigation water completely change its course and plunge down a gopher hole.  Granted, the gopher tunnel could only hold so much water before it quit filling or surfaced some distance away.  The water sought its lowest natural point, the power of gravity pulling it toward the center of the earth (or the bottom of the hole).  If the water had brains, it surely would have avoided the hole altogether, but it didn't.  Stay with me; there's a lesson in this!

You see, I know a lot of people whose lives were once productive and full of joy.  They were like irrigation water, out on a mission to help someone else find life  Then, at some time they were pulled off course by the pain of betrayal; a person they loved hurt them so deeply that they don't notice the little gophers that are burrowing beneath the surface of their hearts.  Sometimes they are just glad that someone is noticing them, unaware that the affection they are receiving is just a setup for more destruction.  Their God-given life starts a downward run into holes of oblivion.  The places and the people they once avoided are allowed to steal their life from them.

We had a way of dealing with gophers back then.  If they surfaced, it took a quick smash from a shovel and they were permanently eliminated.  If the gophers of life are eating away at you, get a shovel.  Or find a helper who will.




Jailer said...

Hi Sam -- I love analogies! I'm going to try to build on yours without destroying it, since of course every analogy breaks down eventually ...

One common strategy I have seen is to deal with gopher holes by pouring on ever more water. More enthusiasm, more achievement, more friends, more music, more activities ...

The problem is, none of that gets at the gophers, who go their quiet way undermining the person's life. Ultimately, the source of the problem must be confronted and the gophers must meet their comeuppance.

Another problem with gophers is that they work deep below the surface. The pain of the past yields sinful patterns of behavior which go to cover up the gopher holes on the surface while just below they continue to expand and destroy. God's power to heal also carries with it a rebuke, but it must go to the source of the problem to be ultimately effective. Just plugging the top of the hole solves nothing and guarantees future crises.

Thanks for the thoughts ... now I'd better leave your analogy alone before I ruin it. For example ... what damage could I do with this ...

Sam said...

Great one, Jailer. Thanks for strengthening my thoughts!