Written Oct ’15 / Not posted till now
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That was me—about 40 years ago.
After raising her family of three girls in San Jose, circumstances forced my mother to move us “back home.”
Our town back then: Pop. 6,000. I was thrust into the Twilight Zone of my grandfather’s high school, my mother’s old movie house, and my cousins’ muddy, cold, dark “Berry Bus.”
‘Talk about a paradigm shift! (And, yes: a serious California Brattitude to go with it.)
But do you know what? During that rebellious time, there was one little place—one little quarter-acre—that seemed to have a strange power over this troubled teen: a place that, somehow, shut me up:
Grandma Lillie’s garden.
Have you ever worked your way down a soft-tilled row, operating an antique, wooden corn planter? On one especially fun day, up in the apple tree, a beehive busted open; this little city slicker flipped out big time! …Corn grew everywhere that year…
Did you know that after you harvest your green beans you need to mist them with the hose right after? ‘Not sure why you have to do that, but… you have to do that.
Have you ever experienced the unequalled joy of taking your bucket out to the garden before anyone else is up, and seeing the burst of color, God’s surprise-gift-bounty just for you?
This quiet place provides a bounty of lessons; wonderful lessons: stuff you can’t learn in a concrete building. (Stuff great for a teenager. (‘Just sayin’.)
Speaking of green beans, it’s best to use one hand to hold the stem, and the other hand to pick the bean. Otherwise, you risk breaking off other blossoms or branches, or even yanking the whole plant out by the roots. This is one of the many lessons from Grandma’s Garden: Care in Retrieval. Every day, whether we see it or not, we reap blessing after blessing; gift after gift: bountiful; rich; delicious. We receive a variety—from many people, in many ways. We do well not to destroy the ways and means God is using for our providence.
Dare we hunker into the raised plant bed with our boots on, and Grab with a Grunt? Receive and Run? Enjoy as though Entitled?
How much better to take our time, to work our way through life’s little weeds, to pray with all our heart amidst the misty fog of the unknown; and, when God provides them, pop those fresh cherry tomatoes right off the vine! How blessed—in the quiet of the morning—to turn our eyes to the Giver of Every Perfect Gift.
So I remind us today: “Lettuce” (pardon the pun) Receive from Royalty; Bless the Benevolent; Savor the Savior.
This glorious garden is meant for our enjoyment. [Cheerfully Chomp!] But I submit that it is a much more satisfying crunch with a side order of Throwback—to Grandma Lillie’s day, the robust years in America’s small town—a side yard planted with uniform rows of deliverance grown from seed, and birds singing above—a lush opportunity to thank the Vinedresser.
Enjoy your meal today. …In whatever form it takes.