The life that you gain


“Nettie, how come you’re walking every day lately?” Louise asked as I tied my sneakers.

“I just feel like it.”

“But you’ve been working most of the day, cleaning houses.”

“Ah well, Jeanette, it’s good for your weight,” Vince said.

“It is.”

Louise shrugged. She was slim.

I couldn’t explain to my good friends – or to anyone – why I was walking nearly every afternoon. Pacing along the footpaths, thinking my whole life through.


Out I went into the afternoon at Red Hill, up the steep footpath, then along the terrace at the top, barely seeing the old Queenslanders, some of them lovely and some quite dilapidated, as I ‘talked’ to God.


I’d felt for some time He wanted me to surrender my life more totally to Him. And I didn’t want to.

I loved life!

And I wanted to do it my way.

My whole life – well, most of it still – stretched ahead of me. All that fun to have. I didn’t want anyone else telling me what to do or how to do it. Not even God.

Up another steepish hill I strode, enjoying the late afternoon sun gleaming gold on the wooden weatherboard houses and the trees. How I loved this old suburb.

If God were the boss of my life, it might be the end of some of my involvements with film makers and other arty friends. They were such fun. There was a world of creativity to be explored out there. I wanted to be free to experiment with it however I liked.


The sun sank beneath the horizon, leaving a black lumpy line of hills and valleys against the brilliant orange glow in the west. A chill crept into the air. I shivered briefly, though hot from walking. Time to turn back.


backyard 1


The next morning I was cleaning for an elderly man. I was still mulling over my dilemma as I worked.

As I hung out the washing in the gentle morning sunshine, a sudden song filled my mind. ‘The life that you lose is the life that you gain’, it went.

The future seemed full of joy. Glowing.

Maud's clotheslinePhoto Margaret J Smith

And there it was: the answer.

If I said ‘yes’ to God, I’d lose the right to be Boss but He would give me another life. A whole new gleaming-with-joy life. Happiness welled up within me. This new life seemed wonderful.

I said ‘Yes’.

I crossed the line.

My new life – doing it God’s way, led by His Spirit – had begun.

Birds twittered joyfully as I finished hanging out the washing. The sunlit garden shimmered green and golden with promise.


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