I was talking to a friend who is somewhat particular about his yard, and he told me there are two parts of his yard that are his favorite spots. I thought to myself, “These must be particularly lush and manicured parts of his yard to be his favorite.
But actually, his two favorite spots in his yard are spots where the grass is worn down to the point where many would see them as blemishes in his yard.
But my friend doesn’t see them as blemishes. He sees them as signs of life. The first spot is where he stands to throw pitches to his daughter. And the second spot is where his daughter stands and practices swinging at those pitches. He said these spots are more important than the rest of his nice green lawn because it’s where he and his daughter have great conversations and make lasting memories.
This got me thinking. My friend gets it! He knows that the important thing is not the grass, but rather what happens on the grass. He knows it’s not the possessions, but the people that are important.
Now there’s nothing wrong with taking care of the things you have. My parents taught me to do this, so those things would last. Yet so often we work hard to keep things looking nice and new because we think they were the centerpieces of our life.
But our focus should be more on the people in our lives, than the possessions in our lives. And people are not always neat and clean. They leave behind messes, scuffs, and blemishes. And yes, this can be frustrating, but never forget…these are the signs of life.
Some of the signs of life at my house are…
- A nicked baseboard from a grandchild rounding a corner on a tricycle.
- A yellow highlighter mark on the carpet from a grandchild who was more zealous about coloring the picture than staying on the paper.
- A wall with stains from the stickers a grandchild used to decorate the room.
- A milkshake stain on the armrest of my brand new car, from an after-school trip to DQ with grandkids who just couldn’t sit still.
- Black marks on a bathroom wall from my 88-year-old mother’s walker…who got the chance to hang out at our house with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Where are the signs of life in your house, your yard, your car…your life? I’m guessing they are not the pristine spots that are shiny and like new. I’m guessing they are the spots and blemishes that mark a well-lived and well-loved life.
You will either see the blemishes, dents, dings, and worn places as points of frustration or signs of life. It depends on your perspective. Just remember this…someday, when these places are more empty than you would like, it will be these signs of life and the memories associated with them that will mean more to you than having things that are pristine and perfect.