Long before we cleared our land and long before the dream of a new home became a reality, there was Jo and Josie's home. Right across the street. Every time we drove by, I looked at the lovely culmination of years of care and hard work and longed for the day I could begin my own landscaping.
It was a lofty dream for someone who manages to kill every plant unfortunate enough to fall into her hands. But alongside that dream was another; one in which I sat at Joe's feet and learned the secrets that bloomed in glorious color all over his property.
The second dream never became reality. Joe passed away a year ago. Not long afterward, Josie went to live in an assisted living home - no longer able to live alone. The adult sons came and went - one staying occasional weekends. Neither with the time to cultivate and care the way the father had.
I clung to the lofty dream - researching, planting and praying. On pleasant days I worked in my little flower garden and looked across the road at the once flourishing landscape. The grass grew tall and wild, threatening to choke out the smaller flowering plants. Fruit withered and died on the branches. The inevitable weeds crowded around the feet of flowering trees.
The spirit of the home, the heart and hands that had nurtured beauty and life, was gone. Neglect had done its destructive work.
It has become a visual lesson for this heart that is prone to wander. Without the Spirit, all the potential for real beauty and fruitfulness eventually withers away. But when the true Landscaper is in residence, all is well. He is working, with great care and tender love.