We planted it this summer to no avail. How eagerly I had awaited the bursting forth of fresh green. I got on my knees, and stared at that dirt as if knowing I was there, expectant, would breathe life into it.
A blanket of grass to roll around on, to cushion bare feet racing and dancing, to hide Easter eggs in, to coat our yard in that lovely life color of green. To elevate our yard from the abandoned look to one that is a cherished part of family life.
I step outside, smile at the warmth of the sunshine on my shoulders. Then the large expanse of weeds with random spots of bare earth fills my gaze. I let out a long sigh.
Yea, it’s grass, but it’s the foundation of our outdoor life, and the view from all my windows and I wonder if it will ever really feel like our yard.
And the frustration of how S.L.O.W.L.Y. our projects have gone around here (despite our best efforts) rises from inside of me, mixes with rage, and births a discontent monster who begins to take over my countenance.
A glimmer of light catches my eye as I spot several pieces of glass. Since we moved here we have been picking up the pieces, thinking we’ve finally got it all until it rains and more broken glass pops up around our land. A reminder of the alcoholic who lived here before us.
I thought about how he lived here among such glory, these oak trees, these rolling hills, this blue sky, with the cardinals by the kitchen window and the family of cottontails on the edge of the forest, the deer tracks by the pond, nothing but nature in every direction. Only the sounds of birds and the gentle breeze swaying the branches.
And yet he missed it somehow. I shook my head at it. At how he polluted the beauty, left piles of whiskey bottles lying over much of the 11 acres. Carelessly corrupting it all.
I added the glass to the garbage bin. And, oh, if only it was that easy to get rid of my discontented self, my frustration over expectations. To just throw it away.
Standing by the bin, it hits me. I’m no different.
Some days my heart soars as I soak up the God that surrounds me, and I’m filled to bursting with thankfulness, overwhelming joy as I feel God’s touch. Giggles from the kids as they jump on the trampoline. The brilliant red of the apple bobbing. The feel of Quinn’s chubby hand around my neck. The smell of pumpkin muffins. The tender smile of my beloved. The way he gazes at our Elizabeth as if it’s the first time he’s ever looked at her.
But all too often I allow my thoughts to dwell on the things I want to change and wonder if they’re ever. going. to. happen. Grass. Kitchen remodel. A barn built. Adding on to the house and finally having more than one bathroom and more than one closet!
And my words spew filth over this beautiful land when I allow frustration to boil from my unrealistic expectations. And joy doesn’t stand a chance. And I miss out on living.
I latch the garbage bin and look up to see a boy happily trotting along with his hero. And I whisper thanks to a God who provides moments like these. And in the next breath I apologize for my discontent heart.
I’m well aware that this will be a battle. When the bills are piled high, when the kids are snapping at each other, when I feel like I’m drowning in my responsibilities, when sickness looms. It will come down to a choice as to what I will focus on.
I’m learning that ‘rejoicing in the Lord always’ is only possible through the channel of a thankful heart. A heart that is still enough to see.