Friday, June 6, 2014

I Get to Work in a Beautiful Place

So what does a missionary university instructor do when he is on an extended leave of absence back in the States while he sorts out his life and how to get back to the mission field?  He gets a job, of course.  And in my case, he gets two jobs.  I did not go to Duke, Gordon-Conwell and Cambridge to get these two jobs, but I enjoy them both nonetheless, and am grateful to have them.  I spend most of my time at our local YMCA where I am in charge of our front desk: checking in members, registering people for our many programs, keeping our facility presentable if not clean, and getting to know a significant portion of our small community.

But my second job is helping long-time family friends with their beautiful 'garden'.  In South Carolina where I grew up, we would say 'yard'.  But I prefer to use the British term 'garden', which covers the same space and provides the verbal dignity that is more than deserved.  For in this case, what used to be a barren lot has been transformed by the previous and current owners into something lovely.  And it is my joy to be able to work there, maybe 8-12 hours a week, weather permitting.

I have my employer's permission to post these pictures.  I constantly try to make myself aware of how beautiful my surroundings are, and present to every moment of beauty, even if I am pulling pernicious weeds from between the gravel in the very long driveway, or digging up invasive dandelions, or pruning apple trees, or trimming exuberant forsythia hedges.  I look one way and see an astonishing columbine, or walk by a a rose bush shouting with red blooms, or take in the undulating colors of the perennial beds that stretch the length of the property.

So here is where I get to work, at least for now.  If one must do manual labor whilst awaiting the opportunity to reengage with seminary and university students in Kenya, then surely it is a gift to do so here.

One of my tasks on this day was to spread pine straw.

I make sure the bird bath is full for the local patrons.

The shady vistas are lovely, cool and inviting.


Two peach trees and two apple trees.

The back lawn and perennial border.  Note the lack of dandelions.

Same from a different perspective.

New apples.

Part of my work on Wednesday - trimming the forsythia hedge.

Peonies just past their prime, but pretty nonetheless.

My nemesis.

Last iris of the spring.

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