I'm not who I was.
When we moved into our home over a year ago, the front yard looked like this.
Then we had 7 trees cut down. (And laid some rocks for landscaping). It looked like this.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a tree-hater. But there were a few problems with having so many trees so close to the house. There were the inconveniences of bugs and innumerable sticks & leaves, as well as the danger of something heavy breaking and falling on the house (especially that one tree that had been struck by lightening). Not to mention that the darkness of the shade stunted grass growth and encouraged moss… (I suppose moss isn’t so terrible in some places, but growing on the shingles isn’t one of the good places. Thank you Lord for the hail damage that replaced the roof.)
For a year we always directed people to our house as “the one with no grass in the front yard”. As you can see, some grew in a little on its own, but not very much (and it was probably more weeds than grass). Now that the Rev has seeded, our house is “the one with the straw in the front yard.”
We had recently been blessed with really phenomenal yard-work weather. The temps had been comfortable, it was cloudy rather than blazingly sunny, and it had been raining so the ground was soft. After our super-neighbor aerated the soil for us, the Rev scattered the seed while I pulled up weeds from the rock-bed and planted flowers (so as to officially be able to call it a flower bed rather than a rock bed). The kids helped too:
The whole process flooded my mind with parables and analogies. How much more pleasurable it is to do maintenance and plant in soft soil that is willing to let go of the weeds and take hold of the seeds. I remember how difficult it was a few weeks prior, trying to yank those pesky onion weeds out of the ground. I’d get some stems and left way too many bulbs… which as we all know meant more weeds in the future. But this time, they came out with ease: root bulbs and all. Overall it took very little effort to clear out some space in order to make room for new growth and beauty. Why? Because the soil had been prepared and unhardened.
I was surprised when, after the rest had been planted with great ease, I had suddenly encountered difficulty in making space for my final flowers. The soil was still soft and ready to receive. But my last pot of flowers was fairly sizeable, which required me to dig deeper. Upon doing so I ran into an unwelcome obstacle: old dead roots.
I don’t know what this root system once supported. Perhaps it was a stubborn behemoth weed. Or perhaps it may have been something strong and beautiful in its time. Regardless, one fact remained: it was in the way. If I wanted beautiful new blooms, I couldn’t let the soil hang on to it. I couldn’t keep it buried. I couldn’t just work around it. It had to be exposed and yanked out. I’ll tell you what, even amidst the prepared, softened soil, yanking out that old dead root was hard work, causing some fresh cuts and pains.
Often that’s how things can be in regard to our past. Bad experiences, when covered up (although no longer active or visible), can still reap undesirable consequences in our present. Blessings that were given for us to enjoy for a temporary season can get in the way when we won’t let go. We prohibit ample space to be made available for new blessings of life and beauty.
Exposure is often surprising, frustrating… offensive even. The overhaul hurts: sometimes a little, sometimes more deeply than can be expressed. But the results are far more beautiful than we could have ever imagined.
New growth still has to be fed and maintained in order to thrive. It’s not a one-and-done deal. It’s an ongoing life process.
Water. Weed. Prune. Seed. Dig. Feed. Live. Need. Give. Breathe.