I fired Jesus, but I really miss the way he arranged my patio chairs.
One duty that fell to me when my husband left was to find a gardener. Here in Southern California, nearly everyone has someone who comes by on a weekly basis and does the yard work. My ex-husband had done our yard work because he enjoyed aspects of it, but with him gone, my yard was growing out of control. I was in no condition to shop for landscapers and so when my friend’s gardener offered to send his friend over, I gratefully accepted.
I liked Jesus right away. He was a gentle, sweet man and I was so thankful to have a gardener that I didn’t say anything when he didn’t show up for weeks at a time. After awhile. I started to notice he shared a few attributes with the more well-known Jesus. You never knew when he was going to show up, but when he did, it was marvelous.
I watched as each week my neighbors’ gardeners came on the same day, at the same time, week after week. I decided I would talk to Jesus and asked him if he could come more often.
Now, I am not very good at being the heavy. Despite my blog name and what a few misguided souls think, I really am not very bossy. (I’m NOT!) I tried to put it as nicely as I could, asking him if he could come more often. He had limited English skills, so I gestured wildly and tried to say what I meant in a variety of ways.
He seemed to understand when I said that maybe he could make length of time between his visits shorter. Ah! He got it!
Well, no, he didn’t. Instead he just cut the grass very, very short.
I began to suspect that maybe he wasn’t a real gardener and that’s why he couldn’t keep a regular schedule. In any event, I was in agony when I thought about firing him. Who fires Jesus? Part of it was my soft heart and part of it was that, well, I just hadn’t done this stuff ever before in my life. It was something my husband would have handled. I certainly did not like this part of single life.
In December, I decided I would do it. By this time Jesus had been my gardener for about two and a half years. In Betty fashion, I wrote a letter, thanking him for all his hard work and explaining that I was going to get someone else. I included a nice fat bonus check too. Since I never knew when he was going to show up, I just had to wait and hope I was home when he did.
Finally, the day came. Evan was home for college and his bedroom window had a good view of the street. I was devastated when I saw that Jesus has brought along his teenage son to help him. The son worked slowly in the front yard, his ear buds firmly in his ears the whole time. I was sick to my stomach as I thought about what I was about to do. I paced around in Evan’s room with him looking on, telling Evan how nervous I was and how bad I felt.
Finally, I got on my big girl pants and went out. I told Jesus the news and gave him the envelope with the letter and check. He shook my hand and said, “You are a very nice lady.” As I turned around I thought maybe he hadn’t really gotten the news right.
I went back inside and watched from the window as both Jesus and his son got in the truck. Jesus handed his son the letter and I watched as his son read it to him. Then I saw his son put the letter down and make wiping gestures near his eyes. “Oh no!” I said, starting to tear up. “I made his son cry. Oh no!” Evan said, “Calm down, Mom. He’s just putting his ear buds back in.”
Soon after, I talked to my neighbor and hired the guy she uses. It’s great having someone come once a week, but I do miss the personal touch Jesus put into his work. He always made sure my patio chairs were placed nicely around the table.
Firing Jesus was tough, but I learned I could do this kind of stuff if I needed to.
I hope he found another yard to work in because when that man did show up, he really could work miracles.