Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary, How Does Your Garden Grow?

Since my divorce, I have found myself in various situations that I had never had to handle alone: getting lost in Atlanta, putting together furniture (which all came with a million screws and whose directions were written by someone who likes to be vague), and cleaning and painting rooms in the house. I felt so accomplished when I had completed these tasks because I had done them...on my own. But then came the garden...

I have wanted a garden for a couple of years now, so once my divorce was final, I knew that was one project I would take on. In theory, it sounds pretty easy: dig the soil, drop the seeds, and water. However, I found that even though I could do those simple tasks, I still had to rely on someone to get some of it done. This was frustrating to me, since I had been handling things alone for a couple of months and finding that I could do everything on my own. But, I couldn't till the ground. It was too hard, not only to use the tiller, but to actually find one. There was a moment of defeat one night, and I remember just being sad. I had felt invincible until then: "I am woman, hear me roar!" But that night, a feeling of helplessness came over me. I couldn't do it all and, in the future, won't be able to do it all.

I just prayed, "Please, God, I need this garden. Please provide a tiller and a 'tiller-er'". A few days later, my prayers were answered and I had an 11x11 ft plot of dirt ready for vegetables. The work was hard (digging, hoeing, digging some more), but all the vegetables were in the ground.

The garden represents many things to me: independence, discipline, collaboration. But the garden is more symbolic. I want the vegetables to grow, but more importantly, I need them to grow. It represents beauty birthed from dirt and worms. It represents strong roots producing nourishment. It represents my life from which beauty will abound through muck and heartache.

I am excited to see the garden every day, to see what new growth has formed on the plants. As this new growth forms, I realize that new growth springs forth in my own life, as I adjust to the "garden" in which my seeds have been planted.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"Mama, where is God?"

I am still amazed when I see the innocence of a child in action. I usually talk about innocence with my students when we see objects in stories that are white and tend to represent the innocence of a particular character, etc, but when I "see" the innocence of a child, I feel so blessed. Sometimes I catch Rylee talking to "Mr. Dolphin" or "Mr. Turtle" only to realize that she is talking to a cloud shaped like those animals. She thinks the moon follows us to school in the morning, and from time to time, she whispers things to it as we drive along.

Without knowing it, Rylee has blessed me in so many ways throughout the last few months, and I think the raw innocence of childhood offers so many "lessons" that make me stop and contemplate. I have also realized just how much she observes and takes things in, which makes me more aware of how I react to situations.I have had several opportunities to talk to her about Jesus, because my choir songs have talked about "nails in his hands" and so forth, so being curious, she wants to know why. She has begun to call upon Jesus whenever she is hurt or if I have a headache, and her prayers are so simple, so innocent. (I did have to remind her that we don't yell at Jesus, we just call upon Him, when she was yelling to the sky, "JESUS, MAKE OUR VEGETABLES GROW!!!").

Rylee and I were on our way home yesterday when we had the most adorable conversation. She has a new "big girl" carseat, so she was sitting next to the window, which she can roll down all by herself now. With the wind blowing in her hair, she was looking up at the sky and asked,"Mama, where is God?"

"He's everywhere, sweetheart."

"Can I see Him?"

"You can't see Him, but you can see all the wonderful things He does for us and all the beautiful things He creates."

"Does He live in the sky?"

"Well, I guess you could say He's in the sky, but you know, you can talk to Him whenever you want to. What would you say to God?"

She was quiet for a moment and then closed her eyes and said, "God, I love you!"

What a sweet snapshot in time and a lovely reminder of how my "vague" answers were enough for her to believe that God lives everywhere, even though she can't see Him physically. The faith of my innocent child reminded me that even though I can't "see" the plan God has created, He will reveal it to me when it's time, and I have faith that He will do so.