Two Fridays ago (10 days), I tore out my mom's rock garden. It's not really a garden so much as an aesthetically pleasing drainage alternative. We put it in about 10 years ago because the back yard floods (still does, but not as bad), and it was so much of a swamp in that area that it was constantly mud. The rocks helped tremendously.
But it was also one of those projects that we gave up on doing right in favor of just doing. So we never buried the timber that was supposed to be a block between the rocks and the yard. Ten years later, after one major overhaul in which I did not know she had even wanted the timber buried, it was overrun with grass, weeds, and...dirt. All of the dirt from the backyard, which had, over the years, washed down the grade in the lawn and landed in this rock garden, trapped by the rocks.
Now, I tried to get the kids to help last week when they were here for Spring Break. I even saved the project, thinking they'd help me tear it out by using their little hands and endless energy to pick up the river rock and put it in the bucket for reuse. Twenty minutes and six rocks later, my niece looked at me and said, "Nuh uh. This is NOT fun." and began ordering around her invisible army of workers: "One rock at a time, guys. One. Rock. At a time!" Between her and her younger brother, they had a total of six rocks in my bucket.
It was up to me.
I tried for awhile, but picking up rocks out of a pile of rocks...it never seems like you're getting anywhere. So I pulled up the nine paving stones and the rotted-through weed paper, and used a snow shovel to start leveling the ground. I put the dirt and rocks I scooped out into a pile on the nearby sidewalk, intent on going through that pile later to put the good rocks back.
That's where I am today. I have worked a little bit every day - an hour to two hours because really, how long can you just sit there fishing rocks out of dirt? (I HATE that a simple project would take this long, but I'm doing it right this time. I even buried the timber. The paving stones and fresh weed paper are already in place; it's just mini-river rock time.)
There was one day of rain, and that was nice. When I went outside to check the pile at the next work session, I found a whole bucketful of freshly rinsed rocks lying right on top with the mud washing down the driveway. Sweet.
But it hasn't rained since, and the dirt has dried out, and now I'm sitting out there a little bit every day picking up rocks, clumps of dirt, and a lot of miscellaneous snail shells, small twigs, dead leaves, and dandelion buds.
You know, after awhile, you get pretty good at figuring out which little clumps of dried dirt have a rock in them...and which don't. You get a feel for it, just by looking at this mass pile of mess that by now is all one color. It makes the work go a little quicker to know, "If I break this mass apart, it's just going to be all dirt. But this one...THIS one...has a rock."
What's the point? You don't care about rocks. But maybe you care about dirt.
See, I know I'm basically dirt. We all are. From the dirt we came, and to dirt we will return. There's not a whole lot about me that's much more than that. And I'm ok with that; it keeps me grounded to know what I'm made of.
But I hope that when someone looks at me, they see that I'm the kind of clod of dirt (and I am oh, so a clod sometimes!) that has a Rock in it. I hope they see that when they start breaking me apart, I may chip away, but they're about to hit Rock. He is the Rock on which I build my life, the Rock of my salvation, the Rock of Promise, and the Rock of Love. He is the Rock of Ages, cleft for me - but as I hide myself in Him, He nests Himself in me.
How about you? From dirt you came and to dirt you will return, but are you lurking in this world as a clump of dirt with a Rock in it? When life chips away and rubs away and tries to break you down, do you disintegrate to dust or does all the pressure and all the nature of the world run right into Rock?