Gus Painted by Shawn

My two sons-in-law have been repeatedly coerced by their wives to sit through an annual Christmas tradition, the watching of The Little Troll Prince. The movie, a 1987 animated Christmas television special produced by Hanna-Barbera is a classic in many households though I believe sales and distribution have ended. I won’t spoil the plot, but I will tell you that the role of farm gnome, one who secretly helps out around a farm, is highly prized.

Gus the Garden Gnome (2)

As my girls memorized the movie’s musical score (then bellowed the songs out at random times) we knew we had to acquire our own garden gnome. That is how Gus came to be a part of our landscape. We picked him out at the roadside concrete yard ornament place and brought him home in style with a raucous rendition of the movie’s “Down From the Mountain” number.

Gus the Garden Gnome. What a moniker!

Gus the Garden Gnome (6)

Gus does his work without fanfare. He keeps watch over the fish pond, provides a perch for visiting dragonflies, and is usually noticed by visiting children just before they terrorize the goldfish. His passive face masks the years of wisdom he’s acquired and the experiences he’s survived.

Like many of us, Gus performs tasks that seem repetitive, perhaps even boring. The writer of the book of Hebrews in the New Testament wrote to folks who had begun to think their contributions didn’t matter. He reminded them that God sees all and knows all. God does not overlook or forget the love and kindness we show to others.

For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.
Hebrews 6:10 NASB

Gus the Garden Gnome (3)

Northerners laugh at our snow preparations and struggles in the south. The threat of snow sends us to the stores in droves to grab milk and bread. Maybe after the lessons learned during the ongoing COVID pandemic we will add toilet paper to that list of must haves? We close every business and stay home until the roads thaw. We do have the occasional storm which clobbers us with significant accumulation. One storm in particular left behind a record twenty-three inches in a twenty-four hour period in this part of Wake County. More than a week passed before we saw Gus’s pointy head poking out of the drifts.

Santa Gus

Our temperatures can stay below freezing for many days, even drop into the single digits. The pond freezes, and Gus dons his festive “Santa” look. He never complains, simply waits for the sun to return. He knows it will. He’s certain the ice will melt and the fish will frolic at some point.

Gus the Garden Gnome (7)

Life happens to all of us, and not every circumstance brings cotton candy and rainbows. We understand, and so does Gus. When the pooh splats on his head he remains resolute. He weathers the unpleasant and hopes for better days ahead. Gus never shakes his fist at the offending bird while yelling, “Go ahead! Everyone else does!” He maintains his positive outlook.

Gus has taught me much. Determination. Faithfulness. Duty. Proper attitude. Righteous response to adversity. He would get along well with the Apostle Paul who urges that we press on.

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.
Galatians 6:9 NASB

But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.
2 Thessalonians 3:13 NASB

That’s Gus the Garden Gnome, a treasured part of our gardening here at Paths of Hope.

Painting credit: “Gus The Garden Gnome” © Shawn Rae Nichols. All Rights Reserved