Yard Work: What’s the Point?
Yesterday I spent my day off mowing the grass and pulling weeds, and for some reason I couldn’t help wondering why. “Because it needs doing” is usually sufficient, but yesterday it wasn’t. The question lingered.
I wasn’t trying to get out of doing it. I rather like yard work most of the time and so I am usually happy since most of the time there is plenty to do. No, I was trying to understand the point of it all.
Perhaps it comes from caring for the same yard for 27 years. If my calculations are correct, I did my 1,000th mowing sometime in the last year and all told have cut nearly 100 feet of grass. There was no mention of my feat on Sportscenter. I have weeded the same flower beds, year after year, hauled yards of bark, replaced dead or diseased shrubs and even dug the huge, diseased birch tree out of the ground with an axe. But why?
In Steel Magnolias, Ouiser was asked why she had a tomato garden when she hates tomatoes. “Because I’m an old Southern woman and we’re supposed to wear funny looking hats and ugly clothes and grow vegetables in the dirt. Don’t ask me those questions. I don’t know why, I don’t make the rules!” Sorry, Ouiser, but I’m asking the question, and I truly think there is more to it than just cultural norms.
Gardening is a parable of working in God’s kingdom. The King himself said so. When I am laboring to clear the weeds and debris a section of flower bed I often think about the never-ending battle against temptation and sin. As I daily water the vulnerable hanging baskets through the summer heat I can’t help but be reminded of our constant need for living water from God. And the delight I feel when I put a large bowl of freshly picked raspberries on the counter is reminiscent of the joy I feel when I see God at work in and through his people at Evergreen.
Yard work is of heaven says Genesis 2, but sometimes feels like hell because of Genesis 3. Revelation 22 promises a return to the perfect garden, made even better than before. When I sit on my back patio looking at the fresh cut grass and the apple tree in bloom, I catch the scent of His good land.