Some people hear God at church. Others, while reading the bible and praying. Some meditate. I have a friend who said he heard God best while sky diving. God is cool like that. You don't have to sit in a pew to hear his wisdom. Today, Him and I hung out while I was in the dirt.
Matt is not a yard work guy. He pretty much hates it. Lucky for us, it was the end of the growing season so we could neglect our landscaping (or lack there of) without too much chaos over-taking anything. As things started to green up this summer, we got to see how truly "in the weeds" we really were.
First I tackled my garden. 3 new garden boxes built, weed cloth, mulch, path stones and a little bit of fencing made my garden something I could be proud of. I planted a few pots of flowers. We ranked. Matt mowed.
And then there were the bushes.
Sadly enough, we couldn't even really tell if they were alive. Now, mid-June, they are green-ish. So today, I tackled the bushes. If it wasn't green, it got cut. If it was green but growing the wrong way, it got cut. If it needed to be thinned, it got cut. I have a huge pile of cuttings in my yard.
As I cut and pulled and shaped and pruned my mind wandered. I can see how gardens are accurate metaphors for life and God and I had a nice little chat.
Take my rose bush. First, there was all the dead stuff that needed to be cut out. It seems obvious we need to remove things that don't grow from our life, but it still hurt to grab the thorny branches to cut them out. And then there was the one branch with a little rose on it, I was tempted to let it be. The problem is it was growing in the wrong direction. It was growing away from the trellis and if I had left it, it would have grown larger and pulled the whole bush the wrong way. Life is like that some time. Things that are "good" are not always "best" and eventually get us moving in a way that isn't healthy.
The branch also hung close to the swing that my children love. Roses are thorny and could give you quite the scratch if you ran into it. The rose bush has to share its space with a bunch of other things, just like we do. Sometimes the things that are good or easy for us can really cause problems for those we have to live with.
My lilac bush was in just as bad of shape. Full of dead branches underneath that kept it from being able to grow in a healthy way, even though from the outside it looks really green and healthy. We can be like that too, looking like we have it all together on the outside when underneath we have all kinds of things we have not cleared out. Resentment, frustrations at life not going the way we planned, anger, hurt, and pride. All of this makes us stagnant and keeps us from being the beautiful things we could be.
The top of my bush is very tall, I am going to have to wait for some assistants before I can trim it. That happens in my life, too. Somethings are just to big for me to deal with by myself, I have to ask for help if I really want to be healthy.
I came in from the yard dirty and sweaty, scratched up and tired but somehow my soul just felt refreshed. God is cool with hanging out with us while we are working in the dirt. He is good like that.