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My dad loved to be the first in everything. We had the first color television in the family when everyone else had black and white TV’s. We were the first with an above ground pool. The larger family came over to swim every day. Our neighbors were curious and leaned over the hedges to watch us swim. Not to be deterred, my dad let the hedges grow to nine feet tall. The hedges were so tall, the neighbors were unable to watch us swim. We enjoyed the pool and all its privacy. But it came with a price.

We had nine foot hedges. They required a lot of work. Both my parents helped trim the hedges. The kids had to pick up the clippings. As the years went on, the trimming fell to my mother. I can remember her saying, “Don’t cut the cord. Keep the cord behind you. Be very, very careful.” Even to this day, when I pull out the hedge trimmer, I can still hear my mother’s words about keeping the electric cord behind me so I wouldn’t cut the cord.

While I heard this as a regular part of growing up, my wife never heard it. For most of our marriage, I cut the hedges. I enjoyed trying to shape them, thinking I was working at Disney World where they shaped hedges to look like animals. I was grateful if I got square cuts with our hedges.

As this summer went on, we had a few weeks where we got a lot of rain. The hedges loved the water and started to grow. I’d come home and that boxy look I shaped in the spring was replaced by a look that was overgrown going in many different directions. I knew my schedule was tight. I asked my wife if she would trim them for me.

I came home one day and the front yard looked wonderful. The hedges had all been trimmed and the clippings had all been raked up. I was grateful.

When I went into the garage, I noticed a note taped to the extension cord. It said, “Do not use – I cut the cord.”  There was a spot, six inches from the end that the hedge trimmer and the cord had found one another. The trimmer cut the cord and the power went out. I was grateful my wife was ok.

The cord was plugged into a drop line from the garage ceiling. Both the drop cord and the garage door opener are plugged into the same outlet. The garage door worked fine. I was concerned as the circuit breaker should have tripped, shutting off the power. That didn’t happen. The power continued on. But when I plugged in the battery charger into the drop cord, it didn’t work. It had no power. Then I remembered.

Where the drop cord plugged into the ceiling was a little box. If you drew too much power or if you cut the extension cord, the breaker in the box “tripped” and shut off the power before it got to the circuit breaker box. I learned that the hard way when the welding machine drew too much power and tripped the little box.

I don’t understand how life works. I know that God is not an insurance policy to protect me from the bad in this world. But there have been too many times I was protected when the light turned green, I didn’t go forward, and a vehicle came racing through the red light.

When these moments happen to you, I encourage you to pause and thank God for his protection. 

I’ll be back in two weeks. Until then, live well my friend.


Rev. Tony Marciano is the President/CEO of the Charlotte Rescue Mission. He is available to speak to your group. Learn more here.