September 2, 2009
Green Thumbin' It
Something most people don't know about me is that I spend a fair amount of time in the yard. I take pride that I have the greenest lawn on my block, and that I do the work as homeowner. This has actually been a very progressive year for yard-work. I finally finished the back patio which was something on my honey-do list with a deadline of "pre-baby". I'm not really a 'flower guy', as much as a 'get your hands dirty and grow stuff' guy.
My pepper garden is doing well this year, especially after I dealt with the neighborhood pepper thief. He won't be coming back to say the least. I normally like to leave ecosystems intact and undisturbed. Last month I was washing my hands at the sink and saw this thief going at it on my peppers. My "normal" went out the window and my pellet gun went out the back door.
This has been a weird year of weather for Reno, and so the vegetation has responded accordingly. We have a lot more flowers in the back than we ever have had before. In the early summer however, we had a weird combination of heat and moisture that left some plants exposed to molds and diseases that would normally not be an issue. Seeing your once healthy flower-boxes ravaged by death and disease is disconcerting. It affects you as gardener because you paid for them, and they reflect you in a way.
For much of the summer I've been trying to nurse these affected plants back to health. Watering. Weeding. Spraying (organic, don't worry). Dead-heading. Typical plant care. Recently one of the flowers that had caught some rust, a pretty vicious fungus, started bouncing back and actually bloomed a single flower.
The phrase "bring glory to God" has troubled me for a long time. I feel like a clear and practical definition has long escaped me, even though I understand the basic concept. It's a phrase that is overused, diluted, and used rather carelessly most of the time.
As I stood there soaking the soil, hose in hand and listening to the backyard ambient noises, I felt something. Maybe a more accurate description would be, I "heard" something. A voice inside.
"It's gonna make it."
I felt for a brief second a sense of accomplishment...that the care I had offered had served a purpose. It felt like, for a fleeting moment, that I had played a role in the flower doing what it was supposed to do in the universe. It was blooming. It was being a flower. And not only that, but it was being restored from a broken picture of what it once was. The feeling of restoring something was subtle and potent.
That feeling has got to be, although imperfect and minuscule, a lot like what God feels when He redeems us. His redemption is far greater, far costlier, and far grander than my stupid yard. But I feel like I understand His glory a bit more.