Who Will See?

This year of 2020 has been a year of challenges. No matter where we live, or who we are, COVID 19 has affected our lives in some way, big or small. Some of these effects will end, hopefully soon. Some will continue because we have been challenged to see our lives and priorities in a new way.

As most of you know, because it is the theme of many of my posts, my “hobby” is gardening. I love working outdoors in our yard which is surrounded by woods. Being outside renews my soul and puts me in the mind-set of communing with my Heavenly Father.

Actually, it all started in a garden, didn’t it? Creation, relationship with our Creator, human’s fall into sin….. all began in a garden. I feel God’s presence most personally in our garden.

Phil and I work hard on tending our plants and keeping the weeds at bay. Because of COVID 19, we have been home much more this year. Meetings in our community, trips overseas, visits out of state, gatherings with friends – all have been cancelled. So, I found myself devoting more time to tending our garden than I ever have before.

The results of that work shows.

But who sees it?

The entrance to our home looks so lovely and inviting – but no one comes to visit.

I cut these flowers and arranged them, but no one was invited to share our table.

So, what is the meaning of all the work if no one sees the end result?

I “drag” Phil around the yard to see a new bloom. I obviously take pictures, but all you gardeners know that a picture does not touch the vibrancy of the color in real life, nor can a photo transmit the smell that emanates from the bloom. Pictures are a nice but incomplete image of the real thing.

So these thoughts caused me to contemplate my motivation for my gardening efforts. Do I do this work so it will be seen by others? Am I just acting on compulsion – driven by some unknown need to pull weeds? (some of my children think that is indeed the case)

Jesus teaches about our motivation for praying in Matthew 6: 5,6

“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

Now gardening is not prayer, but I do view my gardening efforts as an act of worship, of tending God’s creation. These verses encourage me to continue tending, weeding, trimming, pruning, and nurturing. The point is not if anyone else sees it, the point is in the doing. God sees.

It does bring me joy to see plants flourish. There are probably many activities that we are currently doing that are not noticed, especially during these times of staying home and staying safe.

So, continue doing what pleases the Father, whether it is noticed or not.

#26 In My Garden with God

Full Disclosure: We have had family come, and some friends who have driven through the driveway. They have fed my extroverted soul as well.

My Father’s Handiwork

     2006

My sister-in-law, Mitzi, recently sent me this picture of my father collecting tiny Japanese maples under the beautiful “mother” tree in her yard in Eugene, Oregon. Dad brought these two inch high seedlings home to North Carolina on the airplane and planted them in a sheltered place.

Now, fourteen years later we have several beautiful trees and so do our daughters! One even traveled north to Wheaton when Mom and Dad moved there to a retirement community. These Japanese maples are especially beautiful in the fall.

All from little seedlings.

The greatest blessing to me is the remembrance of my father whenever I see these trees.

I realized after Mitzi sent me this picture that I have reminders of my father ALL OVER OUR YARD! His handiwork is a constant reminder that my Dad lived here with us for over 8 years, and not only did he live here, but he left a legacy of beauty.

Which leads me to the next realization  – my Heavenly Father has left His legacy – all creation – as a constant reminder of His presence.

Just as I look at a tree or flower that Dad planted and am reminded of him, I recognize that God, in His creative power has made all things, including humans. When I see people, I am reminded that God created humans in His image.

“Red, brown, yellow, black and white, we’re ALL precious in His sight.”

Caring for our garden and the plants Dad left here honors his memory.

Caring for other people honors God who created them.

If I am not showing love and respect for ALL people, I am not honoring the God who created them. In this time of turmoil and unrest in our country, I must do all I can to honor God by showing honor to His creation – the entire human race.

In Mark 12:30-31 Jesus answers a question from one of the religious leaders – “Which is the most important commandment?”

30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

When I love my neighbor as myself. I am honoring my Heavenly Father by caring for His creation.

My challenge right now is to show love to all people, not only those I agree with. Because each person is God’s handiwork and He loves them, so will I.

2020

 

In My Garden with God #26

 

 

 

The Little Things

Many of the “big things” have been taken away from us recently.

  • birthday parties
  • funerals
  • weddings
  • baby showers
  • celebrations
  • graduations
  • JOBS!

So, we are left with the little things.

I bought these tiny vases at the pottery festival this year with the idea that I would pick tiny flowers and display them together, multiplying their impact. As you can see from the photo – it worked! These little violets grow all around the edges of our yard, but go unnoticed because they are small. Their delicate beauty would be lost in a large bouquet.

Georgia O’Keeffe, who painted very large canvases (some 30ft. by 30ft) said that she saw people pass by beautiful flowers without noticing them. “I will paint these flowers so large, you will have to notice them,” declared O’Keeffe.

and she did…

and they did.

Now we are left with the little things as we stay home and practice social distancing, respecting the health of our families, friends, and neighbors.

This is more difficult for some folks than others. I have two members of my family who seem to be enjoying the social isolation very much. Their introverted personalities thrive in quiet, contemplative times.

Several others of us feel a void of social interaction. Two of our granddaughters have been reported to me as whiny and even crabby. (I guess you could ask Phil if the same is true of their Nana.) As extroverts, our souls feed on social interaction, and right now, they are not being fed in that way.

Yet I am learning to appreciate the little things. Our yard has never looked so good this time of year. A large part of that is due to all the rain and a mild spring, but additionally, since I am home, I have weeded and trimmed places that have been at the bottom of my “list.” I am finding great joy and peace in my garden.

I sense God’s presence there.

After all, it all began in a garden, didn’t it?

Before there were all the “big” things, there were just two people and their Creator. They walked together in the garden in the cool of the day.

So, during this time of social isolation, I have the opportunity to “walk with my Creator.”  I can sense His presence apart from the usual rush of life filled with the “big” things.

Psalm 16: 8-11

I know the Lord is always with me.
    I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.

No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.[

    My body rests in safety.
10 For you will not leave my soul among the dead[
    or allow your holy one to rot in the grave.
11 You will show me the way of life,
    granting me the joy of your presence
    and the pleasures of living with you forever.

It is also a time for prayer. There are many suffering because of COVID-19.

There are others who are suffering because of life events apart from this crisis.

My prayer is that I will use this time for God’s glory –

noticing the little things and allowing them to satisfy.