Those that have known me for some time know that I love to work in my yard. Some might even say it is an obsession, and possibly so to an extent. But, is it really?
While I was putting the finishing touches on the yard today trimming grass and edging, I began to think about this simple question...
"Why am I obsessed with my yard?"
This question led me to other questions (the noise from the weed whacker covers up talking to yourself, and with earbuds in my ears, the neighbors think I'm just singing a song). I began to wonder if I truly spent too much time in focus on my yard, and not enough time on more important things. I even thought about how much time my wife spends cleaning the house, for me to not even notice...until I track in yard debris. I thought over and over about how Katelyn kept saying "it's okay if the yard isn't perfect for the wedding."
Then I turned around at the end of the driveway, looked across the yard, and smiled.
It is the best year yet for my yard.
Obsessed? Maybe...but keep reading.
Some may think that talking about our yard and snapping pictures often to be either boastful or idolizing the creation. I have to say a big NO to both of those. We are truly blessed to be living where we are. Some may appreciate the comments and photos because they knew what it looked like in 2001:
But, as I thought about these things, my memory decided to remind me of why I spend so much time in my yard. Impression. No, not my own, not my yard, but someone else's impression that differed greatly from mine.
Let me explain:
About 15 years ago or so, Kristie and I hosted a get together at our house in the Woodland area for church friends, neighbors, family, and coworkers. Our yard was just the perfect size for a big volleyball game...and yours truly had built his own concrete-filled tire posts that would withstand any net dunk around. So, the day was approaching. I was preparing the yard. I even mowed a low grass regulation size court in the back yard with penalty lines and everything. It was going to be awesome! Installed some lighting so we could play as long as we wanted...the whole shebang!
Then, the guests arrived! We had a great time. We grilled out, talked, the kids all played...and we set up the volley court. As we were laying it all out, a friend walked up to me and said, "I really love the way you have this mowed!" I said, "yeah, I thought it would be cool to have the court defined." His reply was, "no, I mean the whole yard."
I didn't get it. I thought it was a compliment since I had spent so much time in my yard that week. He didn't say it unkind or anything, it was just a bit confusing to me. You see, I had mowed an interior square to keep the clippings inside to mulch themselves. I had done this many times, and it usually left a very plush look. But, something just wasn't right this time, and I couldn't figure out what it was.
So, back to my friend...he is a little bit on the jokester side, so I really had no idea how to take what was said...until...
about half way through the next week, the grass began to grow. It was then that I realized what had happened. A stabilizer pin on the deck of the mower had sheared and my mower was mowing at about a 30 degree cut. It looked terrible!
I realized today that this was what drives me to keep striving to keep my yard looking great. Someone else's impression. After all, isn't that one of the main reasons that we try to make our yards beautiful? Well, that is part of it for me...the other is my own personal satisfaction and enjoyment. It wouldn't matter if it was a third acre or ten...I would still try to make it look the best it can.
In the grand scheme of things, a person's yard doesn't even amount to a hill of beans. It's all temporal anyway. But, that motivation is still there for me today. That "first impression" that my friend had of my yard is the only impression that he has ever had. He has not seen the yard that we have now, and as friendships sometimes drift, he probably won't unless he just accidentally drives by.
So, here it is about 15 years later...and my motivation is in part by what someone else thought. Crazy huh? Not really.
What kind of first impression do people get of Christianity based on what they see from you? Do they see a warped cut - a botched job, even though you might have "tried" to do your best? Do they see that it matters to you first and foremost? Do they see that you have a desire for others to get the "right" impression?
As I finished putting away my yard tools today, I couldn't help but ask myself..."what kind of first impression am I giving in my life? Is it one that show the beauty of the Creator, or the lack of desire to motivate me to do better each day?"
What about you? How does your "yard" look?
For we are his workmanship [masterpiece], created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2: 10
But we all, with open [uncovered] face beholding as in a glass [mirror] the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord. – II Corinthians 3: 18