It is a fitting title, since I tried my hand at gardening for a few years. Growing up in the shadow of a master gardener, I learned to love the smell of the earth and the joy of seeing seeds burst to new life. It will always be one of the clearest pictures of my father, whom we all call Papaw Garden, walking behind a hand plow or tiller or standing mid garden, hose pipe in hand. On this day, however, he sat nearby, hands folded almost as if in prayer, while we pulled, dug, shoveled, laughed and snapped photos of the little ones treading the same soil he has walked for a half a century.
The smallest grandchild, Davis Britt, was taking in the wonder of a roly poly bug with his dad, a clover behind his ear. As I juggled my camera in one hand and the shovel in the other, the thought occurred to me these moments should not just become photographic opportunities but pictures my heart remembers and faith statements of who I am and who will come behind me. As Davis stood by me and wrapped his hands around the shovel that has seen many days of work in this fertile soil, my son secured this memory with a photo and I secured it in my heart.
For me, there's just something eternal about a garden. For fifty years, I have had the pleasure of seeing provision come from the soil, as my father joined God in coaxing life from beneath the ground. There have always been those times of anxiety and wondering if the rain would be too much or too little. Weeds are a given. I certainly learned this as “Mamaw Hadagarden.” With all the work required in keeping a garden, the pleasures far outweigh the difficulties. The act of partnering with God to see new life spring up from the ground could be likened to parenting. And like gardening, there's eternity in birthing children into the world.
As I watched Davis walking through the rows of corn, still about child size tall, I was reminded he will be following in the footsteps of a master gardener. He and my other grandchildren may never have a garden or like myself they may try it for a time. I pray they will. Even in the absence of a personal experience of sowing seeds in the earth and waiting on God's wonder to unfold, I believe they will all have the strength of character and will to make it through the difficult times that every gardener grows to understand. Something of God's hand of provision is witnessed every time a bloom unfolds and hope and faith are realized when one pulls an onion or potato from under the dark ground.
Daddy was seated and watching our activity without a word. I wondered what he was thinking. I hope he was impressed as I was that there is no past tense when you have children and grandchildren walking the rows of your garden, only possibilities of hope and the future. These childrens' roots go deep into the soil of God's garden of provision and possibility because of the promises of God to those who love Him and to their children. Even when we have to say the words “Papaw had a garden,” the wonder of God's provision and new life will continue to be our legacy because one man loved God and His earth and partnered with Him faithfully in hardship and plenty.
|Davis and Daddy... the story continues.....|