• Sarah Raad


How awesome it is the be the creature of the Infinitely Patient Gardener!

Narrow Gate (Victor Bregeda)

My husband loves the grass in our backyard. I mean he really really loves that grass.

He spends hours weeding it, watering it, fertilising it, researching about it, protecting it and maintaining it. Every single day (when there are no water restrictions and it is not already raining) he pops outside after work and gives the grass at the front and back of our home a good soaking with water – and in the summer he can be seen watering it in the mornings too while drinking his cup of coffee.

There is a story that goes with that grass and a logical reason why he loves it so much... You see, when we moved into our home, our backyard was a literal pile of rubble with a swimming pool that seemed to be quite literally dumped the middle of the mess. And so, after finishing the inside renovation after over a year’s worth of work, my husband was ready to attack the outdoors!

But the outdoor renovation was not without its own problems. You see, we have very very narrow side access to our backyard. These sorts of things never sound like a big deal until you get to the stage of facing the prospect of digging out 200 cubic tonnes of rubble from your backyard with a mere shovel, a few tired muscles, some elbow grease and a huge amount of sweat…

Then, you realise how big of a problem those narrow side-gates can be!

So, when he got out there for the final part of his renovation project, my husband started with the shovel and sweat option. The poor man loyally persevered with that option for a good few weeks, moving about a good inch of dirt despite all his best efforts, before he was able to find a more helpful alternative. You see, there are tiny little excavators that you can hire for the day and these machines are small enough that they can fit through a standard doorway. Truly, modern technology is a marvel! Two days of driving around on that excavator and my husband had the backyard flat as a tack and ready to go for topsoil and some turf!

And so it was, that he laid out all the turf. But turf takes time to settle in and while it is growing in, you are not supposed to walk on it, and you are supposed to water it constantly and look after it. There were months back there in those early days when we were not allowed to set foot onto our front or back yards in order to protect that grass.

Now, in understanding the amount of work involved in planting and maintaining that grass, it becomes obvious why my husband loves it so much. One could even ALMOST understand why at one stage, he contemplated banning the children from walking on the grass at all – before he was persuaded that if we disallow our children to walk on the ground, we must provide them with wings to use as a means of transportation instead…

I have been thinking about this grass over these last few weeks of winter while I hang the washing on the clothesline each day, because that green grass reminds me of us.

For us, a faith-filled life requires good preparation – and often very intense preparation at great inconvenience to ourselves. After all, it is an inconvenience to interrupt our worldly plans with prayer, worship, spiritual reading and the sacraments. Surely, it would be much less inconvenient to ignore our spiritual obligations and dance along the wide way in the comfort of our own homes. And so, when we chose to instead walk over the narrow path and go in through the narrow door using the spiritual tools that our God has provided to us – in much the same way that my husband drove that mini excavator through a standard sized doorway so that he could clean up the rubble that was filling the backyard – we are making a commitment to God.

And how God loves us for that. After all, look at how much He has invested in us. He has provided the tools and cleaned up the mess and tidied the area and laid the turf. Then He has watered it and fertilised it and maintained it so that we stay healthy and happy and strong. He has respected it – He gave us free will – just as we stayed off that newly laid turf – so that we can chose to grow.

And though there is great inconvenience in our practice of faith and in a life spent growing in virtue – rather than succumbing to vice – there is also great reward…

After all, just as the grass in our yard is far greener than that of any of our neighbours because it flourishes under the ministrations of such a patient gardener, I hope that our souls too shine brightly for all the world to see – under the ministrations of the INFINITE CREATOR and gardener of the Universe.

And so, as I step out onto that springy green grass in the backyard, I can smile a smile of gratitude, because it reminds me, that I am the creature of an Infinitely Patient Gardener – who denies me nothing to ensure that I grow forever healthy and strong and true…

For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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