Sunday was a beautiful fall day here in Kansas. We’ve enjoyed many gorgeous days recently. Now the leaves are beginning to turn, the grass is browning in certain spots, and there’s just that autumn feel in the air despite the warm temperatures during the day.
On Sunday afternoon, Aaron wanted to take a walk. I thought about going to a nearby park, but I just didn’t feel like driving there. I had things I needed to do at home, like wash Jackson’s bedding after bathing him outside…..and football, I’ll admit. I was feeling a little guilty about not taking our walk in a park as Aaron and I set out to take a stroll around our back yard, Jackson trotting happily around us. He loves taking walks, no matter where it is. And our back yard is good for him with soft grass to pad his paws and to protect his aging joints.
Our back yard is large, so we have plenty of space to walk. We can take our time….it’s rather secluded…..and we can sit on our picnic bench under the old oak tree as we relax near the end of our meandering. Yet still I felt a little guilty for not getting out somewhere else. It just seems more exciting to go to Swanson Park or Sedgwick County Park. Staying at home feels a little dull…..a little common…..unfulfilling, in a way.
Yet as Aaron and I walked, with Jackson sniffing all around and eating some of his favorite grass, I soon noticed some very pretty little lilac flowers growing near the area where our neighborhood lake backs into our property during the wet season. It’s all dry now. The frogs and turtles are not to be seen. But these little lilac flowers were plentiful and pretty, grabbing my attention. I stopped to admire them, pointing them out to Aaron.
Then I saw these beautiful scarlet plants growing nearby, as we rounded the bend in the yard.
And on the tree line were these berries, colored a soft blue, growing on our evergreens.
There were leaves turning a bright shade of yellow.
And red berries growing in abundance, reminding me of Christmas soon to come.
We worked our way up to the vegetable garden, which is normally gasping its last at this time of year. And even though we were surrounded by brown ugliness, the remains of dead squash, and plentiful weeds, there were still signs of life and beauty when we took the time to pause and really look.
There was an okra bloom.
An eggplant still flowering.
Some tomatoes nestled away, ready for picking.
And the cutest little ladybug!
Aaron and I sat on the picnic bench for awhile, with Jackson still exploring and smelling everything of interest. I loved the breeze, the smell of the air, and the time with Aaron. As I sat there, I thought about how much beauty is in our old normal back yard. We’re so used to it here that sometimes I don’t take the time to stop and really look around. Time to really see what lovely blessings I have in our own plain back yard. It’s really not necessary to think I must always go somewhere else for a fulfilling, beautiful walk when I can walk out my back door and see our own beauty right here.
Sometimes the mundane becomes just that……mundane. I fail to look around and fully appreciate all the beauty that God has placed in my life. I especially have those feelings during stressful times, or during times when I compare my life with others who seem to have it “better.” We live in a world where we are bombarded with how the new and the different is what we need.
Yet all around us, in our own lives, we can see wonderful things if we but pause and really look….if we look with open eyes and grateful hearts. We don’t always need to have something bigger and better to be happy. True contentment comes in being aware that we are just where God has placed us, for just this time in our lives, for the purpose of praising Him and showing others Who He is. Pointing out God’s goodness and His grace as we walk in the mundane.
And the mundane will become a gorgeous display of God’s finest color in our lives! For you see, nothing is mundane with God. Even our lives, sometimes dreary and full of burdens, are a picture of the grace and beauty of God. When we grasp that fact, then it’s easier to pause and see more of what’s in our own back yard. There are simple, sweet pictures all around us of beauty and blessing if we but take the time to look…..to ponder…..to appreciate the usual as being the exception.
I am truly a blessed and privileged person, every single day and in every single setting. Home, hospital, doctor’s office…..alone or with others…..healthy or sick…..hungry or full……motivated or depressed.
David said it perfectly in Psalm 34. “O taste and see that the Lord is good!” And again, “…they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing.”
Even in our own back yard!