I first heard this story in a sermon by Tony Campolo. It never fails to bring a tear to my eye …
"There was once a little boy named Mike. When he just was a toddler, he wanted a sand box and his mother said, 'That’ll be good', but his father said, 'There goes the back yard. There’ll be sand all over the place and it will kill the grass.' The little boy’s mother smiled and said back, 'The grass will grow back.'
When Mike was 5 he wanted a jungle gym that would enable him to climb into the sky and swings that would take his breath away. His father said, 'If we put that thing in the back yard, every kid in the neighbourhood will be over here. They’ll run back and forth, back and forth and they’ll kill the grass.' Mike’s mother smiled and said, 'The grass will grow back.'
Between breaths as he was blowing up the plastic swimming pool, Mike’s father said, 'You know what? They’re going to condemn this place and make it into a missile site. You won’t be able to take the garbage out without coming back with mud up to your neck. It’s going to kill the grass.' And Mike’s mother smiled and said, 'The grass will grow back.'
When Mike was 12, he volunteered his yard for a campout. When the neighbourhood boys drilled the spikes into the ground and stomped around with their big feet, Mike’s father looked out the window and said, 'Why don’t I just save myself the trouble and put the grass seed in cereal bowls … I know, I know, the grass will grow back.'
The basketball hoop on the side of the garage drew a bigger crowd than the summer Olympics. The barren spot under the hoop got larger and larger until it encompassed the whole side yard. And just when it looked as though new grass was going to take root, winter came, snow fell, and sled runners beat the grass into the ground. Mike’s father said, 'Lord, I never asked for much in this life, just a few crummy blades of grass.' Mike’s mother smiled and said, 'The grass will grow back.'
… Well the grass this year was beautiful. It rolled out like a carpet, like a green sponge out along the driveway where bicycles once fell, out along the flowerbeds where little boys once dug with tea spoons, but Mike’s father never saw the grass. Instead his eyes were lifted beyond the yard and he said with a catch in his voice, 'He will come back, he will come back, he will come back, won’t he?'
- When it comes to your life, are you focused on 'things' other than your relationships? Remember, people are what is most important in life.
- What is the 'grass' for you?
- Could you be missing something that you might regret later? No one on their death bed said, "I wish I spent more time at the office!"