I love our backyard. It’s a bit of an oasis for me. Even in the heat and humidity of Florida.
As I mowed our lawn the other day, sweating like a construction worker in the tropics, I was able to marvel at how peaceful it was in our yard. Ducks were swimming in our freshwater pond. (Of course, they heard the mower and made a quick exit. But they looked idyllic while they were there.) A huge shade tree is home to a variety of birds, squirrels and other crawly things. Each of which makes a sound unique to them. Red birds. Blue birds. Small birds. Large birds. (I’m beginning to sound like Dr. Seuss.)
We’ve adirondack chairs facing the pond that are a constant invitation to stop, stay awhile, relax. As I mowed, I thought of how lovely it would be to pull one under the shade of the tree and sit with a glass of iced tea. And ponder.
Until I got to the chairs. Moved them to mow under them.
And one of them fell apart. Completely.
I was stunned. Granted, we hadn’t been as faithful to paint them with the stuff you need to protect wood from sun and rain. (We’d done it a little. Obviously not enough.) And we hadn’t sat out there in a bit–maybe more than a bit–because it’s been raining here. A lot.
But they still looked so good from our back porch.
There was no substance. It was structurally weak. Beyond the point of repair. (Though one of my daughters wants to use it for a DIY project. Someone’s trash is someone else’s treasure.)
I felt guilty. We’d invested in these chairs as places for us, friends and neighbors to rest and enjoy the surroundings. We hadn’t cared for them enough to make them last.
I wonder if the material just wasn’t made to hold up to the weather here. (I’d gotten them online. Great deal. Moral–if it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t true.)
Structurally, they didn’t have what it took to last.
I don’t either.
I’ve got great intentions and a strong work ethic. I’ve got this inner drive that pushes me to do my best. Not perfectionism, but you-could-do-it-betterism.
There’s also something in me that can’t make it all work. At the end of the day, I can’t do the best, be the best, do it all right.
I can’t make it in life–or to heaven–on “does my good outweigh my bad” because the standard is perfection. God’s perfection. I will fail.
“The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent His own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving His Son as a sacrifice for our sins.” Romans 8:3
Trying to follow the law, doing right, can’t save my structural weakness.
Jesus saves me by giving Himself in my place.
My broken embraced by His perfection.
That kind of fixing I can live with.