Grace in the Backyard

April 19, 2015 No Comments »
Grace in the Backyard

By Karen Ward Robertson

“Wook!” Johnathan shouts. “Wain!”

“It’s not raining,” I say with a laugh. “Flower petals are blowing from the tree.”

Pudgy hands raise toward the sky as he blinks, awestruck, at hundreds of tiny, white petals raining down. Thousands more are piled at his feet.

Johnathan begins to laugh as we twirl in the shower of soft petals. I explain nature to this child, but he teaches me the wonders of the Creator. 

“There shall be showers of blessings,” I sing to him. “Showers of blessings we need. Mercy drops ’round us are falling, but for the showers we plead.”

We run to the top of the hill. Looking back, the flower shower is beautiful, but not as amazing as when we were dancing and singing in the middle of it, petals falling around us, awake to the moment. 

Gifts According to Season

Dressed in rain boots and a jacket, dragging a stick sword, Johnathan is prepared for sunshine or rain, play or battle. A rain shower instead of a flower shower would have been different but not disappointing. He is awake, and that’s reason enough to spread joy and treasure moments. He expects wonder, not ease, and he finds it. 

Some moments you cannot do over. You only get one chance to see the marvelous miracle unfolding around you. It may look like rain, or it may look like flowers, but you have to be prepared for both, awake on your journey with the God who makes all things glorious and gives gifts according to his seasons. 

Our journey zigzags through dandelions and honeysuckle, over the hills and valleys of the backyard. God has placed an abundance of gifts in the world of a toddler: rocks to carry, bugs to follow, sticks to swing, and lilacs to smell. Johnathan pauses to study a zinnia. He waves to a neighbor. He pats a tree, encouraging it to grow. He talks to the sun. 

He splashes his hand in a mud puddle, pausing mid-splash. A bird, drinking at a nearby puddle, has warbled a lively tune. Johnathan’s eyes widen, and he shrieks with the laughter of discovery. The sky music he has enjoyed all his life is coming from these delightful creatures called birds. For several minutes he stands with arms swinging in pure joy. God has made a bird that sings!

Joy in All We Encounter

A dried leaf blowing through the air grabs his attention, and he follows it. When the merry little breezes allow it to fall to the ground, Johnathan picks it up. It’s a lesser prize, now that it’s no longer dancing in the air, but it’s still a wonderful gift. Small arms lift the dried leaf toward the heavens. Johnathan babbles into the sky, discussing his leaf with the Creator.

Dropping the leaf, he plops down among the dandelions. He reaches to pull one up, but the dandelion resists. He struggles again to grasp it, to pull harder. Still the dandelion remains firmly planted. He struggles again and again, finally plucking it from the ground. Lifting his gift high so God can see it, he stands and gives away his hard-earned treasure, entrusting it into my hand. 

Johnathan delights in the never-ending surprises God has created. He teaches me to keep my eyes and heart awake, to prepare for the unexpected, to find joy in whatever I encounter so that when I give my hard-earned treasures away, others can know his grace. 

Karen Ward Robertson is a freelance writer in Columbia, Missouri.

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