Here in No. California we’ve had crazy up-n-down weather patterns. When it’s supposed to be cold and rainy…it’s been crazy hot and breaking temperature records. When it’s supposed to be warm and balmy…it’s pouring down rain and blowing 50 mph winds. Like I said – crazy! It’s hard to plant or make plans for seeding a new lawn with such unpredictable weather.
I love green grass. If there is grass next to a sidewalk, I will choose to walk on the grass. The feel of it under my feet is divine, and a game of touch football on a lush lawn is nothing short of heaven. That’s why two years ago when our back lawn was infected with a fungus (I’m just gonna go ahead and say it….there was a fungus-amongus!) and it quickly spread down our sloping back lawn and touched everything in its path – I was devastated. Soon our entire lawn was dying, with a brown rolling wave of withering grass spreading across the entire backyard. We finally came to the difficult conclusion that we had to kill the whole dang thing in order to replant and grow it again. Don’t you hate it when that happens? When you have to purge the old in order to regrow and reinvent something new? Something better? There’s a spiritual message right there (II Cor. 5:17) but I’ll continue on.
I felt horribly guilty. Killing something I loved so much so that it could come back better. However, we quickly learned that this killing thing wasn’t going to be so easy. Fungus doesn’t go away without a fight. We had to resort to killing it over and over again for several months because that pesky fungus kept trying to hide amongst the remnants of the good grass attempting to sprout. Again, another spiritual message there, but all I can say is them fungi is sneaky lil’ boogers. Finally, just when we were ready to make plans to reseed the lawn, the California drought caused us to initiate water conservation measures. That meant no new lawn that spring / summer, and we went through the next year with dead grass and just dirt in our backyard.
At first we felt a bit proud of our barren wasteland. We had vowed our support for the cause, decided to be good sports about it, and made mud pies out of dirt – that right there was my literary making lemonade out of lemons attempt. So we set up horseshoes and baggo, and the Yorkies enjoyed a summer of rolling in the dirt and tracking it into the house. As our second spring rolled around, our hopes for green were once again dashed with the continued water restrictions (we really need water out here, and thank you, Jesus, that as I write this it’s raining buckets outside!) and so we muddled through a second full summer of dirt, horseshoes, baggo, mudpies and dusty Yorkies. We hardly went out onto our backyard patio because it was so depressing.
There’s always good that comes from the bad, and as a result of all this time it gave me time and inspiration to come up with a great new landscaping plan to divide our back lawn into two sections – one flat with green grass and the other a raised area with a more drought-tolerant landscape. So Salsa Guy and I began digging up dirt eight weeks ago, leveling the grass area so that we got rid of the slope that let the fungus travel willy nilly , to and fro, and began tilling the soil and getting rid of rocks before it was time to throw the seed out.
Grass seed is a bit like baby sea turtles. You saw them on the Bachelor in the Jamaican sand when Ben and Lauren helped the little guys make it from the beach out to the sea. Wait….what? You’re too spiritual to watch the Bachelor? Don’t judge me – remember this blog is about grace. Anyway, not all those cute little newborn baby turtles will make it out to their destiny in the ocean, and their journey is a difficult one. After they hatch, they’re very vulnerable and need to be protected. Some of them can be eaten by birds, some might be eaten by other sea predators. Not all that are deposited in the sand by their mother will grow successfully into the adult sea turtles they were designed to be.
And so it is with grass seed. We knew our seeds had a difficult journey ahead of them. Some of those little seeds would get trampled, or fall under little rocks where not enough sun or water would get to them and they’d never germinate. Spiritual lesson No. 2 (Luke 8:5-8). If the wind was blowing, some of the seeds might blow away. And even though we covered the seed with topper dirt, birds seemed to flock to our backyard to dine on our grass seeds al fresco, trying to thwart my dream for a green backyard once again. Air soft guns come in handy for battling this, by the way.
So three weeks ago, as I stood with seed in hand, my dreams of grass beneath my feet weighing in the balance, I began to turn the crank on the seed spreader that allowed the little seedlings to fly out onto the fertile ground. This is sounding more like a dramatic novel by the minute. I’m not ashamed to say I said a prayer for the perfect blend of sun, rain, air and accurate aim. I felt like a mother blade of grass…”grow little seedlings…. grow!”
And guess what? Grow they did! I’m happy to report that a week or so after our inaugural seeding, tons of little green heads began popping up across our backyard. You should have seen me – I was like a new mother! I would run out each morning to see how my little seedlings were doing. I would talk to them, encouraging them to lean into the light. I checked the sprinkler system constantly, afraid that my babies might get too much water and drown. I shot at birds with the accuracy of a marksman, and shoo’d the pups off my newborn lawn. I even asked my small group to pray for my lawn – I believe God cares about the little things.
So now here comes the spiritual application – if we’re talking in gardening terms (and Jesus often did), we all need a little opportunity for a “do over” along our journey, don’t you think? Perhaps getting rid of the old – some withering branches or infected lawn – or perhaps it might be the old way of doing things, and trying a new direction. Turning away and taking a new path. God is in the business of recreating us, trimming a little off here to allow for new growth, and even sometimes asking us to change a habit, or a way of thinking, perhaps a sin or even an attitude that is doing us harm. It’s called pruning (John 15:1-11). But the ultimate payoff is that we grow stronger….better than we were before. Isn’t that gracious of Him? He wants us to grow and be better than we were. Rebirth. Regrowth. Renewal. We don’t often find that in all other relationships, but a Father who loves his children will do that for their benefit.
So we’ve had a successful Spring of planting seeds. We now have a beautiful green lawn coming in thicker by the day, and Salsa guy and I enjoy just sitting on the patio, looking out over our green kingdom, and sipping special lemonade with our air soft guns in-hand. How are your seeds doing? Seeds of change? Seeds of friendship? Seeds of patience? Seeds of kindness? Seeds of grace for another human being? Seeds of grace for yourself? Be sure to care well for those newly planted seeds, because grace is lush and nothing short of heaven when it’s nourished.