Today I overseeded our backyard, and mused over life-altering decisions Bethany and I are in the middle of. Two weeks ago I prepared our small patch of lawn in our backyard for a Phoenix-style winter season by mowing it as short as possible and cutting off it’s watering cycle. For those unfamiliar with the desert grass-growing practices, the bermuda grass that thrives for all of the warm months of the year goes dormant during the few cold months. When it’s dormant it looks brown and dead, and is no longer comfortable for rolling around in with your toddler. The solution: overseeding with a temporary grass that thrives only in the cold weather.
As I completed this process today I drew a few corollaries to some of the circumstances of my life. First, I wasn’t entirely satisfied with seeds that I purchased for the project. As I stood in Wal-Mart looking at the only available option I contemplated waiting until I had time to hit Home Depot which was sure to have more choices. Convenience won out, however, and I bought the seed anyway.
While this was certainly a minuscule decision in a life full of choices, it’s a good example of the uncertainties that life is full of. As I approached the limited-option shelf of seeds, a gentleman I know from my church was standing pondering the same purchase. “Are you an expert on this?” he asked. I was not. I shared what I did know, and that was some help. Both of us would have preferred a true expert to step in and let us know exactly what we needed, and that if we did what he said, our lawns would be fabulous. This uncertainty is apparent in much more important areas of my life as well.
We have begun a process to adopt for our second child. This year we have narrowed down our options from birthing, fostering or adopting to adopting. From local to internation adoption we’ve chosen to adopt internationally. We’ve selected an agency to work with and a host country program. While I feel very good and excited about our decision, I can not say that every step we took was made clearly, and without doubt. There was no letter from heaven, audible voice, or angelic visitation to confirm our steps along the way. We prayed, followed our hearts, and moved forward.
As I was spreading the seed today, I used a lot. The bag said it could cover up to 4,000 square feet. My little lawn covers about 600. I used about half the bag (what am I supposed to do with the extra seed anyway?). I may be limited to 600 square feet of lawn, but I want to pack that 600 square feet with as much lush, green grass as possible. And then I’m thinking…
Maybe this grass thing is a good analogy for my life. I might want to be compared to a majestic and strong oak tree, or something spicier like a Brazilian Pepper. Maybe, though, a lawn is a good illustration. Unlike a tree with such a clear start and finish and consistent growth, my lawn is a conglomeration of countless little parts or blades of grass which grow and spread over time. Maybe this is like my life: made up of years that breakdown to months, to weeks, and to days. The days divide into small conversations, smiles, jokes, acts of kindness, lost tempers, stubbed toes, kisses, thoughts, and tasks. Each small, fleeting, and delicate. But each is part of the whole.
Then I’m thinking that maybe this grass shares other qualities with authentic spirituality:
- It spreads like a weed. Bermuda grass is actually considered a weed in many parts of the country.
- There are seasons when it flourishes, and times when it doesn’t.
- Although it goes dormant, it doesn’t die. While the Bermuda may look dead and done with, it isn’t. It’s still there holding on. And when things heat up it’ll take off like…well… a weed.
- It’s super resilient. I’ve seen grass growing through asphalt and concrete. It’ll thrive through the 115 degree summers. And if you’ve ever decided that you want to change a yard from bermuda grass to something else, let’s say a desert-landscaped, grass-less look: good luck. Trying to wipe out the bermuda grass is tough business.
I don’t know what the future holds specifically, but I know enough generalities to make life worthwhile. Like the new seed that I’ve sown, I expect good deeds done in a humble spirit to reap something. I believe this because I believe that I serve a God who governs all and rewards those deeds. I may doubt at times that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be in the big scheme of life. I may wonder if we’ve chosen just the right path to adoption for example. At the end of the day, though, I am confident that God is good and he rewards good done for those He loves.
These thoughts provide me great solice as I contemplate just how many of his children are in need, and that we can not fail who strive to help, to serve, and to save those that our hearts have stumbled upon.