We are all works in progress

Published 11:00 am Sunday, July 10, 2022

Our home is planted on Carriage Court Place among a row of homes, each separated by a courtyard. Our original owner chose to reduce a bit of the house size so that the courtyard would provide a larger space. Even though a more spacious kitchen and dining area would be an added luxury, our “roomy” courtyard has provided me much joy and physical exercise.

Our courtyard\garden\experiment station has undergone a lot of changes. The original space was home to large azaleas, a small verbena flowerbed and a pebbled pathway. I relocated the azaleas to other areas of our backyard, and a summer drought sucked the life out of the verbena bed.

That left me space for climbing vines, a few rose bushes and two stone encircled flower beds. I’ve had such enjoyment in experimenting with a variety of annuals in the different seasons. This year I scooted flowers over to plant some squash and a trio of okra plants. Now my courtyard affords me some bouquets of flowers and a bit of produce. About three years ago I discovered a strange problem. One of my beds was slowly sinking. The large stones encircling one bed were gradually disappearing. Othel checked it and joined my concern. Yes, my courtyard was facing a dilemma.

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We called various experts from the city and county to examine the area. They discovered the problem but had no real solution. A street drain at the front of our house ran under our courtyard via large underground pipes and emptied rainwater into a ditch along the back of our property.

One expert said, “These drainage pipes are old and overtime will deteriorate and shift due to the soil composition. That leaves a crack or opening for rainwater to make its own underground path — under your courtyard — which causes the soil to begin sinking into those washed-out pockets.”

Another expert said, “You can add dirt to rebuild the level of your flower bed, but the problem will continue. There’s no way for equipment to get in this courtyard to excavate that very deep drainage pipe in order to replace it. It would do more damage than your present issues.”

We brought in dirt that year, packed and poked, trying to fill the underground washouts. It was successful until the influx of heavy June rains this year. The sinking-rocks problem is back. Othel will be checking on more dirt to pack and poke.

I’ve realized for a long time that God speaks through our everyday experiences. He pointed this out to me — sin, like the flood rainwaters, can run hidden in our lives. We think we can camouflage or overlook it. After all, no one sees what I’m doing or thinking privately — in my home or mind.

But the nature of sin is to erode and destroy the framework of our lives. Little by little it grows in the depths of our hearts until its destructive evidence shows up on the surface. Unlike my courtyard problem, there is a cure for our sin problem. Jesus came to remove the old heart so He can replace it with the new. And yes, the solution meant catastrophic upheaval — Jesus dying on the cross. He became our indestructible conduit to remove our sin as far as the east is from the west.

My courtyard continues to be a work in progress — just like all of God’s children.

Camille Anding, P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS, 39602.