It had been a long week. Much had been accomplished, but John and I passed each other like two fireflies in the night. We recognized our desire to spend time together, but pretty much just blinked as we passed.
We sat in our backyard, grateful for the chance to be still and share with one another. John had been in meetings all week and had just about run out of words. I’d been meeting with people and still had many to spare. Periods of silence followed by comments and questions. Laughter and concerns all rolled into one.
In the silent spaces, I enjoyed the scene before me. We have a natural pond behind our house. Not a retention pond; this one is God-made, with fish and other critters in it. My kids and grands have caught turtles, we’ve sited otters, and people fish there.
You can’t eat the fish. What you see isn’t necessarily what is. The HOA fertilizes around the pond, and rain washes it into the water. Some mighty big fish have been caught, but they can’t be eaten. They’re full of things that could hurt us.
Not what you’d expect.
I love our lawn because it’s expansive, a great place to play pick-up soccer or Spike Ball. Our neighbor’s yard is even more gorgeous–they’re legitimate gardeners and have kept their outdoor space beautifully.
If you look closely at our yard, though, you see weeds. We’ve worked diligently to try to remove them, but none of our efforts are enough. If you leave a little, it all grows back into a lot.
What’s worse is our weediness is encroaching on our neighbor’s loveliness. Not what we wanted to see happen. They’re very kind about it, but it bothers me that I can’t contain my mess.
Not my desire.
I value our huge live oak tree, for the shade it provides and the home it’s become for birds and squirrels that play in the branches.
Sitting there it’s obvious that the high root system makes it impossible to grow grass under the tree. The circle of dirt and sparse grass goes out farther than I’d like it to.
Not my choice.
My backyard is a delightful place to be, but it isn’t all I’d like it to be.
Neither is life.
It’s easy to focus on appearances, what looks good, managing what others see. What I might consider personal fertilizer, causing growth and the image I long for, is actually toxic and doesn’t show the authentic me. The weeds of my life I try to get rid of always come back–same weeds, same struggle. And the things I want to grow in my life–character, integrity, genuineness–don’t always grow well with the environment I provide for myself.
Apart from Him, my efforts to clean up and beautify my life are fruitless. What I do doesn’t have staying power. But in Him, I can manage the weeds, the toxicity, the barrenness that bother me. In Him, I see the real beauty He intended in my life–a relationship with Him that brings satisfaction no matter how my yard looks.
He’s the Master Ecologist.