I was walking around campus yesterday with a few members of our staff and we decided to check out our “secret courtyard” – the one just west of the library that hardly anyone uses. It really is a shame that it’s not easily accessible – it’s really a great space, especially during weather seasons such as we are enjoying this week.
It was obvious (as we picked up furniture scattered by the wind) that no one had been in the courtyard in awhile (or at least that no one had bothered to set the chair back upright). In doing so I noticed an oval tile patio table (that used to sit in glass breezeway adjacent to our nursery) was lying upside down in a bed of ivy.
Chris French and I picked up the table to set it upright and back on the patio (it’s a really heavy table and it took both of us). We discovered that the table had been upside down in the bed long enough to completely kill the ivy beneath. It left behind a perfectly oval shaped brown spot in the bed (not exactly casual excellence at its best).
A couple of thoughts come to mind:
The courtyard really is off the beaten path and I suspect hardly anyone knew there was a table upside down in the ivy – and hardly anyone will notice the large dead spot. It makes me wonder what parts of my life and ministry do I not regularly “visit” and “inspect.”
I wonder what is dying simply because I’m not paying attention or making a careful examination.
As out of the way as the courtyard is, it’s not THAT out of the way. To completely kill the ivy the table must have been there for months. That means people walked right by and either a) didn’t notice, b) noticed and didn’t care or c) noticed and thought it was someone else’s responsibility.
Again it makes me wonder what parts of my life and ministry am I “walking by and overlooking.” Just because I am not paying attention or taking action (pretending there’s no problem or imagining it’s not mine) doesn’t stop the “ivy” from dying.
Things die – ivy, ministry, life – when they are left unexamined or with obstacles, like upside down oval patio tables, in the middle of the garden.