We were out admiring the first small evidences of fruit from the many plants planted. It is a farmer’s joy to call out the wife to admire that which he has carefully coaxed into producing small life with his rugged hands. This year my farmer has been relegated to a sparse little garden in the backyard of our city dwelling. But he still loves and caresses and nurtures and protects and intimately watches his little plant babies.
And he calls me, calls me out from the domestic demands within the four walls we call home. He calls me to share in the complex miracle of life that happens in the plainness of the rough sawn garden boxes he fashioned with his hands. In this garden, I enjoy the awe without the work…there is no need for more than one pair of life fashioning hands in this year’s garden.
I scan the garden and stop. The hand checking the progress of life blossoming is dirty. There are scratches and callouses from where he has planned, created a place for, and made an environment suitable for his little plant babies to grow. How many times have his hands been sullied in hopes for a harvest? No evidence that there would be one other than memories of the multitude of times green vines, plants, and bushes have responded to him with life-giving nourishment.
And I think of my own hopes. My own wavering dreams. How long am I willing to wear sullied hands? How long will I sweat? How long will I work my mind, heart, and body hard in hopes for the harvest?
Too often I build a box, fill with dirt, throw in seed, and march triumphantly off to bed only to be devastatingly crestfallen in the morning when the fruit of my labor is not fully formed and evident. I cry, get angry, decry my inability to accomplish anything and complete lack of worth to all of the birds and squirrels that will listen, and sulk away. Dreams and hopes abandoned, left to die for lack of nourishment, lack of commitment, lack of faith in the work I was doing and the process of growth and time.
…the farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil,
being patient about it… ~James 5:7
Don’t give up yet. Don’t abandon your garden yet. We cannot always know how far off the bearing of fruit may be, but we can rest assured that through continued labor there will be a harvest.
May you again today dirty your hands in pursuit of your dreams, your children, your marriage, your purpose. May you find joy in the process ever hopeful of the promised fruit.