Learning the unforced rhythms of grace


Dandelion Patience

We have a robust, thriving crop of dandelions this year. Last year we worked on the lawn and tried to restore it to good health but this week, as our Alberta sunshine heats up our yard, it appears to be worse. 

So, we are fertilizing, watering, spraying chemicals on the weeds, punching holes in the ground to aerate the lawn and letting the grass grow long in the process. But this means that we still have a yellow, speckled lawn. As health is being pursued and balance being restored, the weeds still show. It is tempting to run out there and mow it all down ... but we are resisting.

If we were honest with each other, I think we could all relate. We have things in our lives that are not quite right ... or how we want them to be. We wish we were married, we wish we had kids, we wish we had the career we've been looking for. We visit with friends but we are aware that their teeth are whiter than ours, their home is cleaner, their marriage looks better, their kids seem to be thriving and pursuing good paths, their dog is better behaved. We notice, observe, and make comparisons. We want so badly to appear as if all is well, all relationships are good, all financial situations are thriving, that we are in control and haven't missed anything ... but our dandelions are showing. We are, like our front lawn, in process. 

This week, my husband and I decided to remove the dandelions in a quick attempt to reassure the neighbours that we were not going to let them flower and spread in the wind down the street to their lawns. So, we grabbed a bag and filled it with the yellow tops. Within a few minutes, two different elderly neighbours walked over and teased us, gave us some advice on how to handle it, but mostly visited with us. We talked with them about their health, their spouses, trips they had been on and arranged to meet for coffee the following week. They also reassured us that if we pick the tops off, it will be worse in the morning - and it was. 

So, as I write, I can see the speckled lawn...some new weeds, the rest are mostly dying with the chemicals we applied, but the fertilizer and aeration is working and the watering is helping. In time, we will have restored it to a healthy, low maintenance yard, but for now, it looks kinda ugly. 

Waiting through process requires patience and humility. It means that we visit with people and we live in reality. Some things are good, some things are difficult, some things are in process. We are content and anxious at the same time. We are excited and sad about the same event. We are in process. We are being restored to health by God and his love for us. He is not embarrassed with us, or ashamed that we are weedy or needy ... he loves us and takes great care with our lives. 

When we were kids, dandelions became bouquets that we picked and presented to our moms. As the yellow flower turned to white, we would blow them into the air and sometimes our friends faces, which caused them to laugh and sneeze and return the favor back to us. Maybe there is a way for us to find a way to play among the weeds again. Maybe we can find something beautiful or imaginative about the not-so-perfect parts of our lives and relax as we allow God to restore us in our weedy-needy ways.

"So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you." 1 Peter 5:6-7