As I was returning home last Sunday following a hospital visit I passed a complex of office buildings. To my right I noticed a man standing on the lawn in front of one of the buildings. Next to him was a commercial-size lawn mower. The man was aiming a cell phone across the street, obviously using the device to take a picture.
I glanced to my left to see what he was attempting to capture with a photo. It was nothing dramatic…just a row of ordinary commercial structures.
Then I noticed the lawn. All the leaves had been swept clean from the grass, and the bright green Kentucky 31 had been cut in a swirling, circular pattern that those of us who cut our own grass realize was the work of an artist. The yard-man was a Monet with a mower, and with justifiable pride he was pausing to record an image of his work.
I am not perceptive enough to glimpse all the simple dramas that transpire around me in a day. In a hospital hallway I may pass a woman in tears being comforted by another, and I know behind this tableau is pain and uncertainty and tender concern. In a store I see a child being scolded by his mother and I realize a transgression has taken place, or perhaps a frayed nerve has snapped. Life happens all around us.
What I saw last Sunday was a man taking pride in his labor, a man who completed his task and was satisfied he had done his job well. How often we labor and wonder if our labor is in vain, do a job but are pretty sure we have not succeeded, work but see nothing lovely or satisfying in the results. How seldom we take a picture, mental or cellular, and know we have created a thing of beauty.
God did, once upon a time. For six consecutive days God finished in the dying light of the day, stood back to take a picture, and declared the canvas “good.”
And what of the things we do for this Creator? Can we, like Monet or the mower-man, pause and look upon what we have done with what is ours to do, and listen for that inner voice that rewards us with a quiet “well done?”