Preserving Treasure

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Our yard resembles a wedge of pie with the house sitting at the point, the side fences spreading out in a triangle, and the back fence curving where the pie crust would be. We keep the small front yard and the center of the back yard clear, but allow the back crust to remain natural woods except where I hacked out a jungle trail for our amusement.

Here’s a view across the middle of the backyard, pool on the right, jungle behind the shed on the left:

Amid the flower beds, along the fence lines, and along the jungle trail we have accumulated our idea of yard art.

Yes, our yard is filled with beautiful things, interesting things, and just plain things.

An urge to preserve old things motivates me, witness the books I write or edit, yet often that urge gets frustrated.

Family and friends know of my taste (or lack thereof) in yard art and often give us unusual items. Other stuff Ginny and I buy at yard sales, or pick out of curbside trash.

For instance, driving by, we sighted this radiator and loaded the heavy thing in the car to place in our garden. The cats are Ginny’s:

Our neighbor Beth gave me this Lladro figurine beneath the discus thrower on the stump of a tree downed by a tornado:

Our son Donald brought us this flute player (by an asparagus fern) back from Los Alamos when he was out there studying at the Nuclear Physics Lab:

Our beautiful daughter-in-law Helen gave me this lovely bird (as a token of her esteem?) knowing it would not clash with our decor:

Our daughter Patricia provided Venus in a cage which hangs from our fig tree

Our daughter Eve brought this cross wind chime from London when she returned from her graduate studies there:

Our daughter Jennifer gave us this bird girl statue:

I gave Ginny this blue jay planter full of flowers the day she gave birth to Jennifer:

Once, when I explored the foundation of our previous home with a metal detector, I uncovered this rusty sword:

I also dug up this cement flamingo buried deep underground at an old house:

I like to preserve old things, but I can’t always. For instance, termites attacked some vital organs of this wooden lady on the Jungle Path:

They also got this wooden statue that was once a mermaid:

Jesus said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal”.

But, even this Last Super casting is not immune to time’s ravages:

St. Paul also speaks of some things that “perish with the using”.

Some things may age for a long time, but can not be preserved.

The only thing in this world that lasts forever is people.

Working in my garden this morning I saw a people, a young man, jump a neighbor’s fence into her back yard. She was not home. He has no business there. I picked up the phone to call the cops.

He saw me at the fence with phone in hand.

He claimed he was hunting for his cat. Then he said he was cutting through her yard to visit an Alzheimer’s patient. Then he said he was a neighborhood watch member just checking the place out. Then he said he was looking for a short cut to another street. Then he said he’s just got out of prison and was in drug rehab but clean.

He climbed back over the fence and left.

I expect to see him again; I recognize him from seeing him around the neighborhood.

Our neighborhood watch captain said “I know that guy. He is scum. Worst kind. Nothing but trouble. Dangerous. Always up to no good. Just pure trash.” and advised calling the homeowner.

I don’t want this guy around whatever his real story is…

Up to no good. Scum. Worst kind. Trouble…

The kind of guy Jesus died for.

A sinner.

A sinner like me.

Just as we each have individual tastes in music or art—even yard art—so we each have our individual favorite sin. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory God intended us for. We are sinners needing a Savior.

I just want the guy I saw to go away. Not bother me. Not climb fences. Leave me in the peace of my garden… I want to pay him no attention. I resent his intrusion.

Don’t they have places for people like him?

Sure I like to preserve things—but people?

Yes I know I am to bear witness of Christ to people, but I’m sure God must mean witness to nice people, not vile fence jumpers.

Lord, am I to engage this man in conversation about Your love for him? Am I to witness? Am I to represent You, instead of calling the cops?

Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?

I’ll continue my garden tour tomorrow.

• Please, visit my website for more and feel free to look over and buy one of my books, posted by John Cowart. Or contact John at johnwcowart (at) gmail (dot) com.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tracy
    Apr 06, 2010 @ 20:47:55

    Excellent point about us all having our “individual favorite sin”. But it sure is easy to think that the sins of others are somehow worse than mine! I’m interested in hearing if God opens up the doors for you to share his love with this young man.

  2. Amrita
    Apr 07, 2010 @ 09:24:39

    Love your garden treasures, specially the Last Supper. Helen ‘ ‘s gift vulture is super.

    Out night temeratures are in the 80s.

  3. Amrita
    Apr 07, 2010 @ 09:26:01

    Oh it seems the fence jumper was suffering from Alzheimers or amnesia. Good you ‘collared ‘ him

  4. felisol
    Apr 08, 2010 @ 03:28:27

    Dear John C,
    I thank you for just another walk with thee.
    Your garden decors make me smile. Lots of them are not much different from mine.
    My favorite is the wrought iron wall decoration. I might cough up a fist full of dollars for that one.
    You are right. It is easy to offer compassion and money for the victims of the Haitian earthquake.
    Who knows what that no good garden lurker is able to do of damage to your neighborhood.
    There are one or two living not so far away from us as well.
    I know nothing of their background or why they behave like they do.
    I don’t wish them any harm, but I don’t want to be harmed either.
    “What would Jesus do?” Offer them the same unconditional love he has given me.
    Faith comes from hearing, Paul said. Who then shall preach?