She doesn’t like the pine tree in the yard.
The needles drop into the car's air intake, wedging into the windshield’s seal, dropping through open windows to poke unwary posteriors.
“Let me help you with that.” The pine needles poke at my neck as I duck under a low branch that has escaped pruning.
“I can do it,” she say tersely, pulling at the needles sticking out of the end of the vacuum hose. The needles keep wedging themselves sideways in the attachments.
The hood is up so I idly start picking up clumps of needles from inside the engine compartment. She is pulling on two sections of vacuum pipe to get at a clog of brown needles. They fly apart, the long thin attachment flies off, hitting the nearby van.
“These things are SO IRRITATING!” she grunts.
I want to help her, but if she lets me do it she will have lost her battle against this thing in our yard. She jams the tubes together, sticks the narrow attachment on the end. In moments the tube clogs again.
Brenda pulls on the pipes, the pipes resist, they give in, and taunt her by flinging the attachment even further than before.
“I HATE THIS THING!”
“Let me do it...”
“I DON’T WANT TO STOP!!!!”
Her last two sentences hang in the air. Suddenly I bust out in loud, hearty, and almost certainly annoying, bellows of laughter.
She looks at me in astonishment. My laughing redoubles.
I'm gasping: “You hate it, but you don’t want to stop?”
Irritation, frustration, recognition, flicker across her face. Beneath her furrowed brow and button nose she pokes her tongue out at me.
Finally a smile plays across her face. I smile, pick up the attachment from where she flung it, and begin vacuuming up the pine needles for her. She watches for a minute, and wanders off to do some other chore.
Isn’t that human nature? We continue doing the things we hate. We don’t want to do them. We don’t have to do them. We are stubborn beyond reason.
What things do I do that I needn’t? Self-criticism? Not treating everyone with the love? Sin? Failures of spirit? Failures of flesh? Habits I have developed, nurtured far beyond any rational purpose? Grudges, resentments? Preferences in my home? Getting my way in traffic, service in the marketplace...
Where am I stubborn?