What’s in Your Backyard? (Digging up the Past)

What’s in Your Backyard? (Digging up the Past) June 17, 2024

As a boy, I was once bullied by a bigger kid down the street to help him dig in his backyard for “treasure.” We worked diligently for a week after school. Although the labor was coerced, I was certain I would find enough money for a new bike or maybe enough to help the family with our rent. Digging, sifting, and turning piles of dirt yielded little but old bottle caps, nails, and twisted metal. I did find an old bone and took it home, excited that I had found a grave or a missing dinosaur relic. But Dad told me it was just a dog bone buried by the neighborhood mutt.

Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

I was reminded of my quest when I read about a man in Australia, , who was turning dirt in his backyard and unearthed hundreds of pieces of centuries-old jewelry, some as old as 600 years old.

The trove consisted of more than 200 rings, brooches, ornate belt buckles, gold-plated silver plates, and other pieces or fragments, many encrusted with pearls, fossilized coral, and other ornaments.

Where did they come from? Did someone hide them — and then forget? Were there bandits going house to house, and the family treasure was hidden?

What’s buried in my backyard?

I’m sure I have something buried in my five acres. Like the nine-year-old me, I could go about with a shovel looking for similar loot. I could buy a metal detector and be like one of those intense, lonely men with headphones walking along the shore, hoping for a big find. But at this point, I’m not interested

The past is an interesting thing. It’s part of who we are. It’s our history. It’s what fashioned a good part of our personality.

Our past is like driving a car. It’s okay to check the rear-view mirror every once in a while to see where you’ve come from, but it’s dangerous to use the mirror for navigation.

There are plenty of memories. I have some wonderful memories that I am warmed by. And then there are things I never want to think about again. Sins I’ve confessed that still find ways to sneak into my brain at the most opportune times. Buried back there are words that I wish I had never said, actions I should have never done, and bitterness I’ve tried to hide.

Every once in a while, someone hands me a shovel and says, “Dig.” While the past is important, unearthing it serves little in the current demands of life. I’m God’s child who is living for this day, determined to make a difference for eternity in my life and others.


How about you? Do like the past? Do you run from it? How do you balance it with present realities?

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