One Sward, Two Lessons

“He who has begun a good work…”

Philippians 1:6


Sward | swôrd | n. an expanse of short grass


First, can I just tell you how much I love using the word “sward”? I can remember, when I was very little, my mother correcting my pronunciation of the word “sword” and telling me the W was silent. Then when I was older, I stumbled on the word “sward” and I was so just so excited to find out that the “mispronounced” version of “sword” was a real word in its own right. Words ~ gotta love ‘em.

Autumn is coming, which means so is re-landscaping. I guess Autumn is the season for that. Maybe it’s the best time in Southern California for plants to take, since it’s not overly hot and it’s not overly cold. I guess, in Southern California, Autumn is the new Spring. Until next Spring, when Spring will be the new Spring…

So pretty soon I’ll start seeing “Landscape Renovation” signs popping up in front of brown or torn-up swards of grass in public places. Do they have those signs where you live? Like the “Pardon our Mess” signs you’d see at a place undergoing remodeling. This year they’ll also help distinguish the places that are changing out their grass or plants, from those who have cut back on watering and are letting it die. Brown is the new Green in Southern California. a.k.a. “California Gold”.




I’ve thought, in years past, that it might not be a bad idea to carry around one of those signs. Just for myself. Something that says “Renovation in Progress” or “Rebuilding at Work!” It might make people a little more understanding when I’m less Christ-like than I think I am. Which is pretty much always…

But I think there are two important lessons that we can learn from the idea that we are all works in progress. The first is that God is working in us, invariably and unfailingly. And we need patience and forgiveness ~ for ourselves and others ~ while He does.

The other lesson is in the mistaken belief that things have to be “perfect” to be beautiful. He loves each of us, just as we are, even as He works to improve us. Which means there’s something lovable and wonderful there, even in that most flawed character in your life. Find it. See it.

What’s coming ~ in the gardens of my town, and in all His children ~ is going to be beautiful. Lovelier than what’s there now. But don’t miss the fun and interest of the process, and don’t forget to appreciate what He has done, even while you’re watching what He’s doing.


~ “… will be faithful to complete it

until the day of Jesus Christ.” ~

Philippians 1:6


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