Saturday, June 12, 2010
Dan and I have worked in our yard a lot lately. I mean, A LOT. The front is nearly done (we have to wait until payday to buy more mulch), the back yard is a work in progress, and the side of the house (sorry, Honeycutts)... well, we keep forgetting about it until we're too tired from the other to cut the trees out that have grown up in our rhododendrons. (One day, I promise.)
Since we moved in just over 2 years ago, our yard has made me crazy. I know what it's like to have "that" neighbor who doesn't care at all how their place looks... and sadly, I've feared in these last 2 years that others have worried we are now "that" neighbor. Oh, not true...
I am thankful that I married a guy who has his priorities in order. He would rather spend time with his daughter than his yard. However, due to some slight "prodding" (read: nagging to the point of tears), I convinced him that now that E's old enough to be with us during yard work time, we could incorporate the two and finally get things done. And every time we are working in our yard, I have some sort of spiritual revelation. This is not surprising, I guess- some of the most Godly people I know love to garden, so I guess it's a common place for people to experience His presence. One day when I chose to share these thoughts with Dan he said "Quick, want me to call Joanie and tell her you're ready to teach at MOMS?" (Check my old post to see how when I get spiritual revelations, I often want Dan to contact Joanie.)
Today, I had a similar thought. When we moved into our house, the family who lived here before had lots and lots of "stuff" planted. Some of it seemed to be planted and tended to well, and some of it we came to discover was just weeds. It took us a good year at least to figure out where they had planted things (we moved in April) and what it was. So, for a year of my whining, we "blamed" the last family for our lack of a nicely kept yard.
That next year, we were still discovering new growth, as well as "half-stepping" (to coin a phrase from my pal Tiffany) a solution. Dan had read about a great "green" remedy to weeds where you lay down old copies of newspaper with pinestraw over it. That worked for about a couple of months... then we began to notice copies of the Winston-Salem Journal poking through. Occasionally we could even pick out coupons or comic strips. Not so helpful. (Please note: I have been told by my husband that this was because we didn't do it properly. He accepts no responsibility for the not-doing-it-properly part. Whatever.)
So today as I was doing my part to help remove 3 bushes and 8 million weeds, it hit me: This is exactly what I do with my spiritual growth. Exactly.
Weeds continue to grow back unless they are properly removed. (And even then they sometimes peek through.) No matter what, if I don't deal with my junk, it continues to creep into my spiritual life. My time with and without God links closely to what level of junk is in my life. So I should just remove it.
Had the people who lived in our house before us "done it properly", I wouldn't have as much work to do now. BUT I WOULD STILL HAVE WORK TO DO. Had I grown up being more diligent about my spiritual well-being, maybe daily maintenance would be easier... but I wouldn't be exempt from maintenance just because I had a more solid foundation.
My nasty weeds were growing through our property onto the lawn of our neighbors. Um, cause my junk doesn't affect the junk of others around me? Just last night as I spent time with the women that hold me the most accountable, I was thinking that when I have nasty junk in my world, it "oozes" onto their worlds, too.
Had the neighbors taken the time to tell me to remove them, I would have been offended... but it likely would have caused me to act on it sooner. I can likely list for you each time that people have called me on my own crap. It hurts. It burns. It leaves me wounded and afraid. But, when done in love with the right motive, it's part of God's plan for healing in our lives.
It's a constant, constant work. Now that my yard is getting "done", it doesn't mean I won't have maintenance. I don't know why 21 years into my Christian faith I think that once I've had huge spiritual leaps I can rest easier without as much "work". Seriously? Am I that arrogant? Or just that much of an idiot?
As always, it's much easier with the company of good friends. I've been working on my yard a lot by myself... but today with E and Dan there, the time was much more pleasant. Much less like "work" and more like a fun family time. The same goes with my faith. I can grow spiritually by myself... but it's much more fun with the company of good friends.
Those are my musings from today. Hopefully, in a few weeks time, I can show you a picture of all our hard work in the back yard. But right now as I look at the back of John's truck (thanks, John) FULL of junk I've pulled out of our yard, I feel satisfaction... until I look at the yard and see how much more there is to do. There's always so much more to do. Amen.