The Other Side of the Fence



I love being in my yard, mowing, trimming bushes, edging… It’s a rush for me, after a long morning working outside, to look from the end of my driveway and see progress.  For just a day or two, things look pretty nice.  Nearly perfect.

The truth is, my lawn could use some work.  Weeds and crabgrass have overtaken more than I would like to admit.  Sprigs of wild things that I cannot possibly name shoot up from beneath my neatly arranged pine straw faster than I can chop them.  The wind comes, bringing with it lots of presents that plop themselves upon my paved areas and remind me that - no matter how hard I try - I will never be able to prevent the inevitable.  It’s futile.  Life is fluid and nothing stays in it’s place for long.

Comparison is an ugly ploy that causes us to look over the fences of our lives and think that somehow, someway, other people have found the secret formula.   Their lawns are perfectly groomed.  Their walkways don’t have unruly things growing in the cracks.  Just ours.  We, therefore, must be the only incompetent loons on the street. 

Despite my every effort, I am never going to be given my own show on HGTV.  I will never win a Green Thumb Award of any kind. People are not going to drive slowly by my house, their mouths agape at my blooming anything.  It’s just not going to happen.

That doesn’t mean that my yard, my life, is not beautiful.

We all have weeds, just some of us are better at keeping them plucked.  We manage somehow to get that trimming down to a regular schedule.  We fertilize and reseed and water appropriately.  We are outside at dusk, picking up branches that have fallen and adjusting the sprinklers so that they hit all the vital areas just right.

I’m not one of these.

Some people think that the other side of the fence has the answers. The grass is greener, the flowers more plentiful, the natural areas just more “natural” looking.   “If only,” they think… And - just like that - their minds make the leap.

This is a dangerous thing.

In big and little ways, comparison can kill all that is good in our lives.  When all we see is what we think others have - from greener grass, to shinier cars, to the people inside the houses we covet - we set ourselves up for unhappiness.  We dig a giant pit of despair and throw ourselves into it.  We succumb to the oldest game since Adam and Eve.  We bite the poison apple.

People are so willing at times to bail on their lives, to take all that they have and drag it to the curb because they believe that out there - down the street of life - they can find better.  They believe that what God has given them was from the clearance aisle and not from Home Beautiful.  So they run in search of something that they will never find.

God wants for us to stay planted, to stay blooming where we are in the rich soil of our lives. He is always pruning us where we need it. He is cultivating our talents and treasures and yanking out the weeds that have taken root.  He nourishes us with His word.  He wants us to see that He is doing a beautiful thing and that each season has it’s work to do.  

I don’t have all the answers for how to make my yard as beautiful as someone else’s.  All I know is that God has given me plenty on my side of the fence to work with.  

I know how easy it is to become discouraged when it seems more weeds than grass have overtaken you.  Keep at it.  Keep pulling.  Keep focused in knowing we all have imperfections and difficulties.  Trust God that He sees your efforts to tend to what He has put in your hands, your yard, and stop peeking over that fence. 

Work what you have and submit it all to His plans for you.

You, and your yard, are beautiful!