When my wife and I moved into our home in Florida, I had a strong sense that God wanted us to live in that house. It was a foreclosure, and we got a great deal on the house. It’s an older home on an old golf course, so it’s in a peaceful and quiet neighborhood. We have an in-ground pool with solar heating, which makes it usable for most of the year. The great thing about the house is the large living area that affords us the ability to have larger groups of people in for our Chavurah. The one drawback is the large cell tower located about 300 feet from our house in the backyard. Cell towers are necessary evils these days, and for all the good it does, it’s an eyesore. I like to sit outside in the mornings by the pool and enjoy a cigar and coffee, and I have to look at that ugly tower.
I tried rationalizing it, by pretending that it was like having the Eiffel Tower in my backyard, but it doesn’t have the grace or beauty of the Eiffel Tower. It looks more like it was built with an Erector set than the Eiffel tower. I figured I’d just have to live with it.
One of the great benefits of having a cell tower in your backyard, of course, is that I get great cell phone reception. Having moved from an area that is called in the cell phone business, a dead zone, where there is no reception, it’s a great blessing to be able to use my cell phone and know I’m going to have great reception. That is a good thing. I remember the recent past, when I would argue with the cell phone companies that we needed a new cell tower nearby, and I’d even be willing to let them put a tower in my backyard, just so I could use my phone at home instead of having to drive two miles so my cell phone would work. God must have a sense of humor, because I got my wish.
It wasn’t long before I discovered an unexpected benefit to having the eyesore so close to us. I was sitting on the patio with my morning coffee, and saw a fox coming out of the woods that surround the cell tower. I soon discovered we had foxes and raccoons living back there, and I was able to watch the wildlife every morning. One afternoon I was barbecuing, and the foxes lined up on the other side of the screened in pool to watch me, in case I might be generous. I disappointed them, but it was cool to watch. In the early spring, I noticed some large birds building a nest in the cell tower. I watched them every morning as they took up residence in the tower. As they would swoop down to get food, I noticed they had white heads and tail feathers. I had an American Bald Eagle nest in my backyard. The tower was tall enough for them to nest, and I had a front row seat on such majestic birds. A family of doves took up residence over our bedroom window, and the sounds of the birds cheer us every morning. What started out as an eyesore, became a great blessing to us.
At this point, I have embraced the cell tower (figuratively speaking). I wouldn’t trade it if I could. It makes me think about all the eyesores of life. How many of them are actually blessings in disguise? There are so many things in our lives we would like to do differently or change, but how many of them afford us opportunities we would never have otherwise? Things may not have worked out as we originally planned, but in another way, they worked out better.