I have a mounted copy of this beautiful picture hanging in my kitchen. It was given to me by a dear friend and it is a picture of my garden. When I gaze at the picture I still marvel at the beautiful scene. The wooden gate is the entrance to my simple country garden and the arbor which forms a framework for the wisteria that covers it is weathered and somewhat twisted from the thick growth of the vines, yet the picture makes it seem like an elegant entrance. The simple wire fence and gate were made for the practical job of keeping out rabbits, wild pigs, and other critters that would threaten my plants; it was not designed for beauty, yet the picture seems to capture an element of nostalgic serenity. The wooden chair inside the gate portrays a bountiful harvest – without revealing the imperfections of my garden trials and failures and the raised beds that bare evidence of my struggle against weeds and grass.
It is charming and picturesque because of the artistic perspective of an excellent photographer. Looking at the lovely scene, I still can’t believe that it was taken in my back yard. I know the imperfections that lie just beyond the camera lens. However, it is nice to just enjoy the picture for the beauty it portrays and focus on the lovely things in my garden instead of worrying about the imperfections that I know are found there.
The picture reminds me of all the wonderful friendships with which I have been blessed. When I admire the beauty that is found in the sincere hearts of my friends, I don’t try to see the imperfections that may be hidden just beyond my view. I know that imperfections may exist and that I may have a limited perspective of their hearts, but I also know that the beauty I see also exists, and so I delight in their fellowship and love to be in their presence.
I wonder how often we view ourselves as I view my garden – a simple wooden frame, weathered and twisted, built for the practical service of holding up the ordinary wire of everyday lives. But if we could view our lives from a different angle, would we marvel – not in pride, but in grace filled wonder – at the weathered wood and the ordinary screen that the Lord has adorned with His spirit and the beauty of his heart changing love?
Just as my garden is garlanded with the splendor of creation, I have been blessed with friends who are bejeweled with the adornment that only comes from a heart that walks with the Lord.
Thank you, dear Father, for the abundance of beautiful friends with which you have graced my life.