There is a little house in our neighborhood which has been for sale for a very long time. I finally got up the courage to call the realtor to ask if I could "stage" the house to help attract a buyer. He kindly allowed me to do that (sad that I have so much extra furniture in my garage that I actually COULD do that). ANYWAY, as time has gone on, there has been some interest, and even an offer, but nothing the seller could agree to.
Meanwhile, the summer heat has taken a toll on the yard. It completely turned yellow. So, we jumped into action again. Now we are watering by hand every day and mowing the yard, etc. The owner called and was grateful for the help, said he'd pay my boys to do it. Often, however, its been just me out there moving the little sprinkler around the yard during the day.
At first I was trying to set the sprinkler (the kind that produces a "rainbow" of water that rotates from one side to the other) right in the middle of each yellow patch. The yard is smallish and I didn't want to "waste" water by having the "rainbow" arch of water land on any of the cement or the house itself or the gravel driveway, etc.
After many days I have noticed, however, that there are some dry patches that literally can NEVER be reached when I use this method. I have realized that sometimes, I HAVE to run the sprinkler in a place where much of the water lands on cement in order to actually hit certain dry patches. (I realize that if I had a different sprinkler head, this might not be true, but as I don't, this is the case).
It got me thinking about people. Sometimes I think that as parents and friends and extended family members, when we attempt to "love" someone, we try to be "efficient." Meaning, we try to give them what they need without wasting too much of our precious time or energy doing something that we really don't want to do. Perhaps sometimes we feel our efforts are wasted and that our words of love are perhaps falling on "deaf ears" or onto cement.
However, as I have watched these little patches of grass grow, I have realized that "showering" someone with the love and affection THEY need, in the ways and places and times that THEY need it, is perhaps the ONLY way to help certain relationships and love "grow."
We may feel that we are expending too much time or energy (do I really need to SIT DOWN and watch cartoons with my kids?) or that our efforts are misdirected and mostly miss the mark (is it really worth the all the money to go on a family vacation? can't we just stay home and hang out with each other? Does my extended family really care if I show up to their baseball games or piano recitals?), but I am starting to feel that any and all our efforts to love those around us, especially our children, are never wasted, no matter the cost.
In other words, love cannot be inefficient, love cannot be quantified. And next time I'm tempted to opt out of some seemingly silly bonding time, I will remember those little dry patches and just what it takes to reach them.