one of the things that i really like is gardening. my parents have always had two big vegetable gardens and several flowerbeds. every spring we planted the gardens and flowerbeds together as a family. it usually happened just before a thunderstorm, as it seemed like there was always a thunderstorm when i was a kid (what happened to them?), and my dad wanted to hurry and get the seeds in before the rain. so there would the five of us stand in the freshly tilled garden, looking like an a expanded edition of the “American Gothic”, underneath the roiling black sky that was about to break at any moment. i realize that i am painting a much bleaker image of planting time than it really was. in truth, as a child, it was one of the best times, after a little whining, of course, that there was dirt in my shoes or that a favorite tv show was about to start. but somehow i don’t remember those negative things about gardening. i only remember being with my family, the smell of the approaching rain, the cool dirt on my feet (we usually ended up taking off our shoes), the clink of the seeds as they sprinkled down the metal pipe-funnel apparatus my dad rigged up. thus, gardening has a very soft spot in my heart.
sadly, apartment life doesn’t make gardening conducible, at least not with a big garden like my parents had. someday i look forward to having a big garden like that in which to toil, but in the meantime i have discovered the fun of patio gardening. one year i had 5 gallon buckets of tomato plants, this year i had jalapeno pepper plants, and i always have an assortment of flowers- lobelia and geraniums are my favorites. over the years i have discovered how hearty plants can be- my balcony does not have full sun, and yet somehow the plants manage without. i think the biggest excuse that people have told me for the reason they don’t garden is that their lawn doesn’t have the right conditions. too small, not enough sun, too much sun, rocky soil, clay soil, too damp, not enough space. what a cop-out. the reality? they just don’t want to garden. sure, maybe they want the benefits, but they don’t want to take the time. i can say this with a sort of high and mighty attitude about gardening, like i am some sort of expert, but the truth is i use these kinds of excuses when it comes to outreach and being God’s hands and feet. i’m sorry if you thought this post was soley about gardening, and in the beginning that was my intent, but somehow new thoughts always emerge beneath the pile of thoughts that i’m rummaging through. i’m very stream-of-consciousness. back to outreach- i am always looking for excuses to not have to go to Ninevah, or i say that i will go when the conditions are right. but the truth is, i don’t want to go. it’s easier to come up with excuses, just like people do for why they aren’t gardening. but in reality i can go. i can reach out. and i don’t need the perfect soil. if a dandelion can grow through a crack in the sidewalk, then i guess i can, too.