I mow the lawn. A lot. There are many parts to this exercise (literally—legs, arms...).
First, coaxing the 20-year-old mower from its nook. Usually this involves a mighty yank. The wheels complain across the floor before it's all the way out.
Then, priming and starting it. In other words, pushing a little squishy thing lots of times, before yanking on the cord thingy (I'm not too particular about my mower part names), and hoping that it starts on one of the first twenty tries.
After the little monster has roared to life, the real fun begins. If you caught that it's 20 years old, you've hopefully guessed that it's not self propelled. Thus, when just shy of an acre of lush grass awaits the blade, you've got a workout coming, in the form of two and a half hours of trudging.
Back and forth. And back and forth. And back and forth. And there and back again. And... You get the picture. Before long, I'm soaked in sweat, and coated with grass and grime. And I've still got five eighths of the yard to go.
After two gasoline refills, and lots of clogged grass incidents, the lawn is mowed. Only then does the beauty of the big picture come out.
Under the beating sun, in the process of mowing, the back and forth stripes always look wavy. Or crooked. Or just plain bad (and, don't get me wrong, sometimes they are just plain bad). But, when everything is finished, and the whole yard is cut, the finishing effect is usually quite pleasing.
That's the way life is. Sometimes, we make mistakes. Big mistakes. Or little mistakes. Or, averagely sized mistakes. Mistakes, anyways. In the middle of them, when we're tired of living, and trudging, and just barely lasting, things look terrible. But when we're out of the mess, and we look back and see the whole business, we realize that God used all those little mistakes to make one big picture.
And that is beautiful.