Thursday, October 14, 2010

If You Plant will Grow!

The grass is greener in our front yard than it has ever been before!

In fact, until a couple weeks ago, there was no grass in our front yard.

There was moss and clovers and dirt and weeds and rocks--but no grass.

You see, we sorta live in the woods. Not really--there are nothing but paved streets and once you turn the corner out of our neighborhood, you are right in the middle of suburbia--but you do get that feeling sitting on our front porch. There are trees--short trees, tall trees, bushes--everywhere, and much of the ground is covered in dirt and sticks and leaves. (One time, Luke and I actually pitched our tent in our back yard and camped out in "the woods!"). We also love lighting up our fire pit out back and gathering around the warm flames to roast s'mores, drink wine, and relax with friends. And the GIANT tree in our backyard is the perfect home for the rope swing Luke put up. With all the marvelous colors, this time of year is especially beautiful, not to mention the nostalgic crunching of leaves beneath my feet during long walks along our neighborhoods many paths.

Pumpkin carving bonfire party in the backyard. Notice the ground (i.e. dirt)?
That is what our front yard used to look like!

So there are many wonderful things about our woods.
But grass is not one of least I didn't think it was.
I was convinced (for the past 2+ years that we have lived here) that it was impossible to grow grass in our yard. This is not to say that nobody around us has grass--every once in awhile I come across a modest lawn...and once in a very long while, I come across an great lawn, but it's mostly dirt and sticks and rocks around here. I distinctly remember the lady we bought our house from saying, in a dramatic, exasperated fashion the day she moved out, "I hope y'all like the outdoors!" At the time, I had no idea what she was suggesting--two years and no grass later, point taken.

But about a month ago, after literal years of discussion over the ill fate of our lawn (or lack thereof), a young man came by offering to aerate our lawn and plant some seed for a small fee.
We finally decided to give it a try.
The timing was excellent. It rained for several days after the seed was planted, and before we knew it, there was grass coming up in what had previously been hard, fruitless dirt. I was shocked! It is not perfect grass by any means--there is still moss and cloves (but at least they are green, right?); it is uneven and there are bald patches; BUT there is grass!

Luke proudly mowing our LAWN for the first time ever!
This whole episode got me thinking: if I had known that grass (even pathetic looking grass) would have grown, I would have planted it a lot sooner!! We had gotten so comfortable with the idea that we would never be able to have grass that we didn't even try. Our yard suffered years of mediocrity because we didn't strive to attain for it anything better than what surrounded it.
A little too deep for a conversation about grass, eh? I bet you know where I am going with this...
It all got me thinking about my life: How often do I just become comfortable with the way I am because I allow my worldly surroundings to lower my standards and cushion my falls? Why do I so often give up easily or become convinced that I can never make a difference?
An acquaintance on Facebook recently got a tattoo that extends along his entire forearm from his wrist to the crease of his elbow. It says, "Comfortably numb." I have no influence in this person's life and haven't seen him in years, but I have been disturbed by those words since the day he proudly posted the pictures of his new ink.
Comfortably numb? That is so sad.
I have heard it said before that the opposite of love is not hate, it is apathy. Apathy...lack of feeling...numb(...lukewarm?). I admit that I line up right behind him for a ride on the Comfortably Numb train way too often...but deep down, the idea makes me nothing but uncomfortable.

I don't want to be comfortably numb! I don't want to be numb at all. I want to be passionate and on fire and in love with loving God and others.

But, unfortunately, the struggle is there--I don't always live that way. And sometimes I don't even try.
It's like my lawn.
Sometimes making a real change (i.e. growing grass) in my life seems like
too much work;
or impossible;
or unnecessary;
or too different from my surroundings;
and so I become numb--even almost comfortably numb (I am thankful my conscience doesn't completely quiet just begins to speak in more of a whisper)--and I make poor justifications (nobody expects us to have grass in our neighborhood; there is just not enough sunlight or water; it is not worth the hard work; it wouldn't grow even if we tried).
Is this not the same conversation I often have with myself as I strive to grow in my spiritual life? Excuses, justifications, and feelings of defeat abound...but without any real effort. It's like I give up before I begin.
But you know what, if we didn't try to grow that grass, we never would have known it was possible to grow. In other words, struggling though spiritual exercises and prayers, even when the soil of my soul seems too dry or cold or fruitless really will bear fruit! Because if the Lord will give us grass in our front yard, how much more life will He give to our souls, if only we break out of our comfort zone and direct our efforts to Him?

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? ~Matthew 6:30

I am motivated to make more effort in my spiritual life...and then wait and see what the Lord allows to grow!


  1. I was sure I already commented on this...but I'll try again! I just love reading your beautifully written! And who knew you even had a lawn mower?? the pic of luke cracks me up.
    Oh, and that tattoo really is sad!

  2. That's an excellent point about life!