Lessons in the Yard?

Is God in my yard?

The following are answers to journal prompts from a book I am reading entitled God in the Yard by L.L. Barkat. I wrote my responses in the car as we drove the I-40 corridor across hundreds of miles of America.

The author is writing about a commitment she made to create a small space to go to daily. It happened to be in her yard. I haven’t read past these prompts so I don’t know what happened, but I am intrigued since obviously she wrote a book about it.

I am considering finding my own “small space.” These are my thoughts based on the author’s prompts:

“If I commit to going to some kind of ‘small space’, I’m afraid that…”  I will find out that I am not a creative that I only have the creativity of others to admire, or worse to envy. I am afraid that it would be a colossal waste of time that is self-indulgent rather than soul building. I am afraid my soul would suffer rather than find something new, beautiful, and life giving."

“I shouldn’t bother with 12 weeks of this, because...” if I take the natural time to do it I will likely be hearing framer’s with their power hammers, the beeping of construction vehicles, and smell the odor of plastic burning. The house-building next door will drown out the sounds of birds singing, deer tip-toeing through dry leaves, the sound of an airplane flying over my “small place” headed to the place I dream about in my imagination.

“I believe (or do not believe) my soul is bigger and wiser than I, because...”

Which is it? What do I believe about my soul? Is it not my soul that sees beauty and signals my stomach to tighten in a knot, knowing beauty is often fleeting? Was it not my soul that as I prayed Scripture over a bride, caught her eye, made me swallow hard to hold back the emotion of a moment? Is it not the soul that turns my gut to a gnarled mess, stealing my appetite when I at a loss for what to do next?

The soul must be harnessed when love overwhelms, bridled with a bit, held back, so as not to overcome self or others.

But what if I trusted the One to whom I have given my soul, in a "small space"----- a place where no one else is-----in the place where things are not as they should be? Things are never as they should be. Never.

What if I let go of the idea of a perfect place to sit and ponder at the bidding of my God? Might it be worth taking the risk to go to the backyard even with the house being built next door?

My fear says that what is being built over there will at the same time be tearing me down, making me want run to find another place---a place I knew long ago when time was slow and I wasn’t responsible.

Could I go to the yard as I did as a child for an hour to play?

When time was slow and I wasn’t responsible, things creeping into the yard from next door would not have fazed me. I would have gone about my day and fed my soul the way a child does finding wonder outside without prerequisites having to be met.

When I was a child, I might have caught a terrapin, if I happened to wonder upon one, fed it a carrot. I might have gathered acorns for the squirrels so they didn’t have work so hard to put away their winter supply. I might have picked weeds for a bouquet, a little violet bouquet or maybe, stinkweed with their bright glossy yellow petals. Or if the yard wasn’t mowed, I might have split stems on clover flowers, pulled the stems through the slit until the bloom caught to make long strands of clover necklaces.

I could do this, go into my yard, but will I or should I? Is it a crazy experiment that will leave me with a feeling of foolishness at the end? Could it be that God wants to put me in the yard to grow something in me that I have been looking for and haven’t found in the house?

If I have trusted my soul to God, what do I believe about it? Is it bigger and wiser than I? It probably is. I wouldn’t know. I live in my mind.

But I am wondering what God might teach me out in the yard?

Counting the graces with Ann:

- finally seeing Anna as the bride, beautiful in her green eye shadow
- finding a country church on the back roads of northern Georgia
- seeing a friendship quilt hung in the church
- witnessing dreams come true
- finding our way home to the ones we love


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