Every once in a while, I enjoy writing a story just for the sheer fun of the story. This is one of those stories. It’s the kind of story you just want to get down on paper because it was so fun living it. Maybe there’s some nugget of spiritual wisdom buried within this little tale. And maybe there’s not. But if it makes you smile — or if it makes you want to step outside and plant a seed — well, … mission accomplished.
How Does Your Garden Grow
I knelt in the tilled dirt, under a patch of blue sky.
In one hand, I held a packet of radish seeds, and in the other hand, a sharp garden tool. I was poised to plunge spade-first into the spring-planting season – a season that woos both the hopeful and the naïve.
My husband, a farmer, had tilled this stretch of black dirt next to his cornfield so I could plant a small buffet of produce: beets, carrots, beans, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes.
I crouched in the dirt and arranged seed packets, and my mind entertained grand and gleeful visions. I thought about the ways in which gardening would instill a good work ethic in our daughters while I ordered them around that tilled patch of ground. Then, my mind fast-forwarded to the midsummer dinner table. I could see it clearly: how my family would benefit nutritionally from our hard work — all those vitamins pulsing through through their bodies, thanks to my leadership in this act of planting bravado. (Insert sound of angel chorus.)
Then, in my delusions of gardening grandeur, I began to mentally collect ribbons at the county fair, tacking them on the bulletin board next to my much-anticipated Mother-of-the-Year Award.
Just then, reality barged into the garden, boorishly interrupting my daydreams. Truth, is, I have the brownest thumb in the neighborhood. (Unless you count my wildly prolific thistle patch.)
It seems every farm wife worth her weight in topsoil can plant a garden, except me. Oh, I’ve tried.
I once planted five rows of vegetables in the backyard, but failed to fence my plot. By July the rabbits and deer had eaten all the produce. A year later, I borrowed rows in Grandma Lee’s garden, but I was so fearful of the snakes in her yard, that I stopped weeding my section.
I quit gardening altogether for several years, and did most of my “canning” in the aisles of the supermarket. I owe deep gratitude to Del Monte for feeding my family.
Meanwhile, each spring, my husband faithfully plants hundreds of acres of corn and soybeans in straight, evenly spaced rows. And each fall, as I witness his harvest from the rear-facing windows of the house, I am secretly envious of the fruits of his labor.
This spring, I vowed, would be different. I carefully picked an assortment of seeds. I plotted where I’d plant each row. I carefully marked the garden with dowels.
Yes, there have been a few errors – minor, really. You know, like the fact that my garden hose was fifteen feet shy of reaching the garden. Or how I spilled half the radish seeds in the bean row.
And then, fifteen minutes into our planting adventure, I couldn’t find my co-laborers, the children. Later, I found them behind the shed, attempting to give one of the farm cats a haircut – a trim of the whiskers with some blunt-tip Fiskars.
And, my husband — bless his heart — gently informed me that I wasn’t using a hoe when I planted the garden. That sharp tool was, in fact, our ice chopper. (Common mistake. Note the striking resemblance to a garden hoe.)
But, I digress.
Because, guess what? Two hours after I dropped the first seed in the ground – voila – our garden was planted despite my case of Garden Implement Mistaken Identity.
That was a week ago.
And get this: Just this morning, one of our daughters came bursting through the back door with a report: “Something is growing in the garden!”
I rushed outside to see. Sure enough, a long – and somewhat straight – line of green had sprouted.
Lo, the miracle of spring.
Our family owes its thanks not to me, but to the good Lord, who had the sense to plant us in Iowa, a state that lays claim to some of the most forgiving soil in the world.
With things in proper perspective, I no longer dream of prize-winning radishes. I’ll be satisfied with sinking my teeth into something that grew out of a hole that was dug with an ice chopper.
Photos by Anathea Utley (1), and Simon A (2). Sourced via Creative Commons on Flickr.
So, what’s your Story?
A #TellHisStory is any story that connects your story into the story of God. (And as you can see with the case study above, some stories have almost zero spiritual application!)
You’re invited to tell that story right here, in community with us.
Share your narratives, your poems, your Instagrams tagged with #TellHisStory, … your beautiful hearts. You are the chroniclers, the people who help others make sense of the world with your words and your art.
Story is how we know that, no matter what happens, we can get back up again.
Visit someone (or two) in the link-up to encourage with a comment. Then, Tweet about your posts, and the posts you visit, with the #TellHisStory hashtag. Come back on Friday to visit our Featured #TellHisStory, in the sidebar.
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