There’s a difference between neglect and growth……
I recently visited the Honey Creek Woodlands natural burial grounds which has 1600 acres of reserved land protected by land conservation efforts. While touring the property, I approached this area called the Meadows. The steward guide who showed me around pointed out to me an area that appeared to be dead looking shrubbery that was growing out of the ground. The steward guide said: “when most people come out here they freak out when they see this because they think all this is not pretty they just want to get a weed-whacker so that they can take the weeds out and make this look pretty.” She continued on and said “but people don’t understand nature…there’s a difference between neglect and growth.” Immediately, when she said that it struck a tremendous cord with me because I too had to confront my own inner discomfort with the need for things to look pretty.
As I continued thinking about that statement, I thought about how we [people] want to have our lives look pretty on the outside. We try so hard to make the messiness of life look “good” and surface level pretty. So many of us cringe at the thought of something not looking pretty that we do our best to make our lives reflect exterior-only beauty.
Which is why many of us lean towards the clean-cut grass cemeteries with lush greenery and beautiful flowerbeds in perfectly symmetrically aligned cemetery plots. So that it all looks “neat” and “in order,” but in all actuality how much of our lives are?
I do love that verse from Ecclesiastes that says God makes everything beautiful in its time and throughout the course of our lives there’s no ugliness ….so how do you reconcile this? What does it truly look like to have a messy life that looks beautiful.
Is the tension because we have a superficial view of what beautiful looks like?
Do the things that are not externally colorful that appear to look dead on the outside and not bursting with vibrancy actually mean that it is lacking beauty?
Why are we so adverse to things that do not appear to look shiny, glittery and spectacular on the outside?
Could a life that is truly beautiful that has been through the tilling and the watering and the planting look like something that has not been just sheltered to the side? That has not just been a bench warmer but has lived in the trenches of it all. Someone who actually lived a life and didn’t neglect living life but actually lived it and because of it – grew.
These are the questions I ask myself that I need to confront daily in order to have the peace and true riches of life that matter.