The weatherman lied.
Light rain was supposed to start late afternoon, but it started late morning instead. That’s how I found myself on my knees, digging and planting, in the rain. I was determined to finish what I had started that day, which was long overdue renovation of some flower beds. Nothing short of lightening was going to stop the agenda for the day.
While the Iceman was working in one flower bed, I was working on an entire crop of dandelions that had taken up residence right next to the rock edging. I’m positive a single “flower” had transformed into an entire colony overnight! They were growing right up against the edging because they would not dare to grow in the Iceman’s yard! They were apparently from very sturdy stock, too. I was quite surprised by the effort required to dig far enough down, and then around, to remove the root. They were actually bending the handle of the spade I was using, causing me to rethink my tool choice.
As I sat there in the rain and patiently dug into my work, it made me wonder about myself. What do my roots look like? I have many roots- faith, family, friends, career. How strong are they and how deeply have they grown?
Some of the dandelions where yellow, but some were white and fluffy and at the least little breeze or bump they released their seeds to spread and grow deep roots somewhere else. It made me wonder, what kind of seeds do I release when I’m hard pressed? Are they seeds of hope, mercy, and love? I hope so.
As I dug and loosened the soil, working the roots loose, I began to seriously ponder the parable of the sower and how well I have been tending my soul. Honestly, this past year has been a struggle. Separation from church, family, and friends has been hard. While my roots are still there and have weathered the COVID storm, they have suffered. They are not quite as strong as they used to be and they need some tending.
My Pastor recently taught that spiritual discipline is about setting aside time and space for God to work in your life. As I pondered the question of the strength of my roots, his words came back to me and I did a deep dive into the honesty pool about the time and space I’m setting aside for God to care for my soul. What kind of priority does it have? Is it dedicated or half-hearted time? What is allowed to encroach upon it? As I dug and pondered and dug some more, I developed a fresh new perspective of the importance of tending and also being tended to.
The desire of my heart is for my soul to be tended like the beautiful new flower beds we’ve worked so hard on this spring. And the truth is, sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t. What I do know is that despite my level of effort, the weeds are going to come. They are constantly sprouting, burrowing in, and encroaching. How well am I prepared for that? Part of the tending is to open my eyes to be aware, to be vigilant, to make sure my weed barrier is in place.
What are my weed barriers? They are God, Prayer, Scripture, Sacrament, Family. The Apostle Paul also names a few: the belt of truth, a shield of righteousness, the gospel of peace, a shield of faith, a helmet of salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit.
This past week I was hurt and angry over something outside of my control and I was talking to my son about it. He listened and offered encouragement then told me, “It’s going to be OK, Momma. Why don’t you go sit on the deck, read your bible, and watch the birds? That will make you feel better.” He was right; good advice from a good man.
I now understand why people garden. There is nothing quite like working the dirt with your own hands, alone with your thoughts. Removing the old and creating room for the new. Creating beauty where weeds once ruled. Making new discoveries about old things and learning and growing and tending.
I am thankful for Dandelion Lessons.
“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life…”Moses, Deuteronomy 4:9a (ESV)
“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”Paul, an Apostle, Ephesians 1:13-14 (NIV)