Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Year Later: Settling Down... Planting Gardens

I just completed my flower gardens for 2013.  I always like to have it done by around July 4.  It is especially important this year as we will be on vacation during the first half of July.

I enjoy gardening; it's wonderful introvert time, and a chance to create a thing of beauty. Once I finish, I find myself liking to just look at the finished product—and subjecting others to photos they might not care about in the least :).

Surely, I could have planted these flowers earlier, but every year I procrastinate.  Why is that?  I know it will be hard, that's why.  (This weekend alone, I spent about 10 hours working in the yard.) It's hard work to create the garden and it takes work to maintain it:  weeding, raking, chopping, digging, planting, mulching, watering, etc.  And, of course,  plants grow during summer; so it tends to be hot, sweaty, grimy work.  If you're going to garden you gotta be willing to get your hands (and for that, matter most of your body) dirty; there's really no getting around it.

Much as I would prefer to simply walk in the back yard one morning and have the flower garden waiting, in 42 years I've never seen it happen—I keep waiting. The potential is part of the property but until I put forth effort to "activate" that potential, it will not become reality.

What is true for my garden also was true for the people of Israel.  Much as they might have preferred it, they didn't simply walk into to Canaan unopposed.  Yes, God led them to the new place and was giving them a new home that was brimming with potential, but they would have to work hard to start turning that potential into reality.  Israel still had to overcome considerable obstacles before the land would be truly theirs.  In fact,  they literally had to fight to take possession of their new home.

Tomorrow (July 1) is the one-year anniversary of our first Sunday at Good Shepherd.  Like Israel entering Canaan, for the past year, we've been taking possession of this place we now call home—Waldorf, MD. Along the way, we encountered obstacles, not the least of which was mold in our basement (again), but God has been with us and has given us what we need to respond to each challenge.  God often uses our difficult experiences to stretch us and, if we let them, make us better people.

Last year, so much of our time was spent moving in that there wasn't much time for gardening.  I did plant flowers, but they were kind of an afterthought.  A year later,  it seems that we are settling down (for what we hope will be a long stay) and planting vineyards (or in our case, Vinca and Impatiens). We feel  thankful that we are part of a church community where our gifts are appreciated and can be put to good use for the Kingdom of God.  We are thankful for the welcome we have received and looking forward to what lies ahead for our family in this place.  We pray more of the potential planted in this place can become radiant reality on our watch.

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