I’ve learned lessons on the care of relationships from our yard.
We moved into our most recent house a year ago – May 2012.
The house we rent, owned by the University where I work, had not been taken care of in years. Over the first weeks of our move-in, I cleared trash-can-after-trash-can of overgrown limbs & leaves. (I stopped counting full-size trash cans of leaves and limbs at 100.)
The horrible care of the yard was particularly sad due to the fact that the house had been well manicured by owners several years before the last couple of tenants lived here. I know this because I’ve worked in the neighborhood for 15 years and the evidence of concrete & stone walkways and edging, plus the quantity and varieties of shrubs, bear the evidence of someone who had invested in their yard.
Because of the overgrowth, I had to cut the shrubs too much to get them to be manageable. As a result, they looked barren since only a frame of the shrub remained. This, in turn, left large 4 and 5 foot borders around the grass yard as bare dirt. The shrubs had been so overgrown as to completely choke out the grass itself. And, by the time I might have been able to plant grass in June (waiting week after week, filling 4 and 8 cans per trash day!), the weather was too hot to allow for grass to germinate properly.
As a result, all last Summer, through the Fall, Winter and up to this Spring, the yard looked “hacked” and in too many spots “barren.”
Finally, a few weeks ago I was able to get into the yard with Spring weather. I seeded the barren spots with two kinds of grass seed – and over-seeded the entire yard. I fertilized the shrubs and soil according to the best principles of care. I trimmed the newly emerging sprigs so that the shrubs look appropriate to their size, trimmed as though they are cared for.
I walked barefoot through the yard a few minutes ago as I picked up a few limbs to put in the trash can.
It’s amazing how long it takes to restore something that has been left desolate.
For months I would look out in the yard and wish I could hurry Spring along more quickly, so I could seed the yard and restore the barren areas, but of course I could not do this.
It’s also amazing how it takes just a little bit of care, routinely provided, to prevent damage.
I think this is true of all our relationships – with others and with God.
Minor care, small acts of consistent work, proper investment and “fertilizing” at the right times, will allow for beauty and growth year round.