by Dennis Ensor
“The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The next best time is now.”
When I open my eyes each morning I am greeted by a view of the lush St Augustine grass that fills my front yard. If the sprinkler has been on, the drops that glisten in the morning sunlight just add more richness to the glorious deep green turf spread out before me. What a treat it is to behold that scene each day.
It hasn’t always been that way. As recently as five years ago things were quite different. Back then, the only thing growing in my front yard was the original native pasture grass and weeds that had been surviving there for who knows how long—perhaps centuries. Because of a few simple actions on my part, the view through my window has now been transformed from the dull, brown and boring to the vibrant, crisp, beautifully vivid showcase of emerald green.
The simple actions which ultimately made the difference were nothing more than me occasionally stopping by a friend’s house in town to pick a few sprigs of St Augustine grass and transplanting them into my own front yard at home. (This particular grass is best transplanted from sprigs, also known as “runners,” as opposed to planting from seed.) These sprigs had usually started growing out over a driveway or sidewalk and my friends were only too glad to let me trim them back to their intended boundaries.
To plant the sprigs, I usually would just take a straight edged shovel, open up a crack in the ground, partially insert the runner and press the dirt back together again with my fingers or my foot. Each sprig would only take seconds to plant. After that, a little water each day for the first week or two was all it took to make sure the roots began to grow deeply into the soil.
It wasn’t until about the third year that I really started to see the difference. The runners from the original sprigs had really started taking off—in all directions. Now, when planting new sprigs, I only needed to look for places to fill in between the rapidly spreading established sprigs. After the fourth year, there were only a few spots that hadn’t filled in completely. By the fifth year, the St Augustine had completely taken over where once weeds grew.
I’ve often thought about how that process relates to the choices I make in my daily life. Though picking up sprigs and planting them was a very easy process, it wasn’t something I was compelled to do. Nothing in my daily process required me to do it. If it was to get done, it had to be a conscious choice on my part. And, I would have to do it fully knowing that the ultimate benefits for the action would not be experienced until several years later. I came to realize that this same principle applies to a lot more things than grass in the yard.
In today’s society, there seems to be very few people who are not overwhelmed with their daily commitments and schedules. This is especially true for young fathers and mothers who spend much of their time shuffling kids between practices, games, competitions and camps. This doesn’t even include those things that have to do with the demands of work, church, fellowship with friends, maintaining houses and cars, paying bills and all those endless other things that keep popping up on a daily basis. The demands on our time seem relentless.
If we are not careful, because of these demands, we may never get our “life goal sprigs” planted. If we are not careful, we may never live our dreams, even those that are absolutely attainable. We may never get that book written, that mountain climbed, that artistic painting completed, that language learned or that (you fill in the blank) skill developed. And that would be a real shame, because it truly is a choice.
Knowing how easy it is for our dreams to pass us by, I encourage every individual who is reading this to ask yourself, “What is my dream goal?” and “How important are my dreams?” or “How important is it that I accomplish my dream goal?” Pick a dream goal and then consciously clear out a space to work on it each day, starting today, even if it is only for five minutes and with tiny baby steps. Keep a one sentence log of what you do each day toward your dream. Make it a priority—every day.
Don’t allow your dream to get crowded out of your life with less important distractions. Don’t allow yourself to get to the end of your life with regrets and disappointments about what you didn’t get done or about what might have been because you were too busy watering the weeds. Instead, make it happen—right here and right now–one sprig at a time. A little here, a little there and before you know it the view from the window of your life will be nothing short of magnificent. Don’t miss out on that view.
May God bless you as you let your lights so shine that others may see your good works and give glory to Him. Amen
Copyright © 2012, Dennis Ensor, all rights reserved.