Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Of Weeds and Arks

Several years ago, my former pastor, Reverend Matthews preached a sermon about gardens. In it, he pointed out that when you cut weeds down low, they look just like grass. Apparently, he had complained to someone that his yard was being overtaken by weeds. The person to whom he was complaining, responded that he needed to decide whether he was cultivating a garden or fighting weeds. Was he accentuating the positive or eliminating the negative? His takeaway: if he focused on the grass and the weeds would eventually die, choked out by the good grass. Hm.

So to the 'gardener' in your family, the one person who 'gets it' and has realized what needs to be done to prepare for the end of life pass; to the person in your household who is struggling to communicate to others what may lie ahead, I say this: focus on the grass not the weeds; focus on encouraging whatever small steps along the path to financial preparedness that you can not the naysayers or the passive aggressives who pretend to agree and then go out and undermine your best efforts. There will always be naysayers (the weeds), there will always be roadblocks (bugs that might eat your blooms) but in the end, if you stay focused on the garden you're trying to cultivate, you'll find that you can deal with these distractors and distractions with far more aplomb.

I'm currently working on something with several members of my family that has reminded me that I too am cultivating a garden. Others may not yet see what I see. I have to remember too that I am the one with the vision. I am the one who has seen the whole picture in my head, so I now have a responsibility to communicate that vision effectively to the others.

The story of Noah's Ark serves as a good reference point for me. Noah knew about the flood. Others didn't. They hadn't seen what he had or heard what he had. He was charged with a responsibility to build an Ark and so he did. He tried, unsuccessfully, to convince others that he knew what he was doing but all the while he was struggling to share his story, he was knocking those nails into wood. The Ark was being built well before there was hard proof that it was needed.

So tend your grass while ignoring the weeds. Build your Ark. Tell your story. Talk to your people and keep working as if your life depended on it. It does. Never mind the weeds or the naysayers, they're part of the process. And when you start to think, "This is too hard. Maybe we should wait?" just remember that it wasn't raining when Noah built that Ark and more importantly, that construction was complete when the deluge came.

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