Sunday, June 23, 2013

Diamonds In The Rough

It was ten years into our life together that Dan and I bought the farm.


 I mean, we actually purchased a farm.  Because we had a meager surplus of funds after selling our first
Not quite "before."  More like "during."
house, we couldn't afford the already-finished working farm of our dreams, but all things considered, after seeing everything out there, we thought we got a good deal.  Just the thing for raising our four little boys and brand new baby girl.  Forty miles outside the city limits, it was a forty acre property, with a plethora of outbuildings, an old cottage-style house -- and lots of promise.  We could see it plainly.  Behind the bad windows and half-rotten doors, under the red shag carpeting and beyond the dead lawn and litter-scattered yard, there was a dream oasis.   

We were young, full of energy, and starry-eyed with optimism, so when a friend of ours saw the place for the first time and was unable to disguise her distaste, we were highly offended.  Sheesh!  How could someone
"After" -- but before the perennials came up that spring...
not see the possibilities?  Sure it was a diamond in the rough; that was obvious. Like, duh!  Didn't she realize that we hadn't had the time to fix it up yet? We showed her around and pointed out the changes we would make, but she was dubious at best, and either unable or unwilling to join in our enthusiasm.   "Hmph! Just wait," we told each other after she'd left, " We'll show her!" And we thumbed our noses in her general direction.  Charitably, mind you (winkwink).

A couple of years later after a heck of a lot of time, money, and sweat equity, we hosted a lawn party, eager to show off the finished product.  Naturally, we invited our friend, and bless the girl, she "oohed and ahed" appropriately at the changes.  And we hooked our thumbs in our suspenders and grinned like fools.  We'd worked so hard for our little country paradise and it was everything we knew it could be. We always knew it had the potential, even if others couldn't see it; it just needed lots of love to bring it out. 

Fast forward a few years and zoom in:

We have a little son named William, our last child most likely. He's seven years
old and he's a flawed little person.  It's true; I love him so much, but it's true.  He's got a sneaky streak a mile wide, and given the chance to work or play computer games all day he wouldn't pause for a second to seat himself at the computer desk.  He's forgetful and has a cocky assurance that can easily be misinterpreted as sassiness.  And he's terribly terribly untidy.

But, you know what?  Man, has he got potential!  His older siblings get irritated when they see that he's snuck away to play in a hidden corner when they're washing the car; they roll their eyes (as do I) when he's supposed to put away the clean silverware from the dishwasher and all he does is open the drawer and dump them all in a heap.  The big kids think he's spoiled, bordering on disrespectful -- especially to them. And, no kidding, he can be a real pain in the neck to all the people he lives with sometimes.  

But he is such a beautiful diamond in the rough.  His Dad and I have always seen the potential in him, just like we've seen it in each of his nine siblings.  Just as we saw it in the old farm.  Little William still needs time and love to bring it out, but he's full of wonderful potential.  We have to love him enough to help him along and he has to love his own self -- and us -- and most especially God enough to perfect himself.  But you have to be blind to not see how special this kid is.

Moving in even closer:

I am so irritated with myself lately.  I made a list of objectives for myself a while
back -- on the order of things ranging from improving my daily habits to bettering my overall life attitude, and as of this moment I haven't been able to check a single thing off as accomplished.  I'm still the airhead that I've always been, I haven't improved my prayer life at all, and I haven't gotten even the least smidgen of a tan yet this summer. =sigh=  Especially when I'm tired or hungry or lying awake with insomnia, I ponder this and cant help but  find myself the worst kind of loser. (When I'm well fed and wide awake I still know it's true; it's just easier to ignore.)

Still, as pathetic as I am, I can't shade myself from God's goodness.  There's no hiding from it.. Even with the unavoidable fact of my ineptitude and weakness looming over everything, I can't help but feel the warmth of it.  The eyes of my soul are drawn heavenward; I peek through my fingers and catch a glimpse of God looking down on me, a ragged and weedy prospect, a flawed child, wayward and uncooperative -- but to Him (and I gasp at the unlikelihood and the enormity of it) full of promise. And the light of that hope is dazzling.  Humbling.

But it's not as if it makes no sense, relatively speaking.  If, with all her weakness, lazy stupid Lisa can look at an old weedy farm and see an oasis; if her whining seven-year-old stirs her foolish heart with love and promise, how much more must our Heavenly Father hope for from the wreck before Him now, typing on this keyboard.  He knows what's possible. Even from me!

How much He must see possible in the whole world!  In each person. Always. No matter what the circumstances.

And all I need, all we need is love enough to help God help us along.

We're all diamonds in the rough.

He knows that even when we don't.


Love itself starts with the desire for something good. Without this desire, there can be no love of any kind. Through love, every heart seeks to acquire the perfection or the good that it lacks, or to express the perfection it already has. This goodness is not always moral goodness; it can be physical or it can be utilitarian. But there is not one single area of life that is not affected in some way by love.

~ Servant of Christ, Fulton J. Sheen 


Anonymous said...


I love this! It brought back memories of when we visited the farm, leaving in awe and with a warm, wonderful feeling that returns even today when we remember our time there or are sharing our memories of our visit with others.

Cousin Anna

Therese R said...

Love this post Lisa. I think every larger than 2 children family has at least one diamond in the rough. I know we have 2 of them.