Tuesday, June 29, 2010
This is my favorite time for the garden. I mean, I do love the harvest later in the summer, but I always love the anticipation at this part of the summer. Everything is planted and growing --visibly, almost!-- and all is neat and orderly and staying in place. Later in the summer, everybody tries to take over the world at once and the garden is a jungle of chaos that I have no time to tame as I navigate it and fill my buckets with the overflowing bounty. For right now, the work is steady, but enjoyable and relatively light. With the rain this year, the weeds are exceptionally prolific, but they're not yet out of control (well... not quite).
The garlic harvest may be my favorite of all. It's such a civilized plant-- begging little and asking no attention except when I have time to give it. It's planted in the late fall, well after harvest, and then starts growing happily in the late winter, cheering my spring fever. The only attention it needs is a thick mulch and the pulling of the occasional weed as it quietly grows, treating me with a few tasty scapes for cooking. It stays neatly in place and patiently waits until the hectic spring planting is done to signal me with a few yellow leaves. It feels like a treasure hunt to fork the bulbs to the surface and see how big they are. I let them have a few days air on the porch, then bundle and hang them in the mudroom to enjoy for a whole year, where they keep quite well.
Tomatoes could learn a few things from garlic.
But then, so could I, for that matter.
I could use some lessons (perhaps I'm getting them, but I'm not learning them well!) in patiently biding my time, happy with what I'm given each day.
I was thinking about it as I sat on the straw path pulling weeds this morning. Weeding can be such a meditative and enjoyable chore if I let it. This morning was breezy and sunny and not at all hot-- perfect for pulling weeds and thinking.
I am not accustomed to not completing my list each day. I'm used to making a reasonable agenda each day, and the working steadily until I've crossed everything off. I'm not used to uncompleted tasks. So I've been getting quite frustrated with the chores that stretch out before me, day after day, and I never feel like I make headway. (Even when I make a shorter list!) I miss having my house as clean(ish) as I would like it to be. (And I keep thinking how my Mother is going to arrive at my house for the first time ever next week, she who taught me to keep house (or tried to...), and I have to face the fact that it might be trashed when she gets here and there's nothing I can actually do about it.) It frustrates me to go around and see so many things undone and unfinished.
I'm not used to weakness.
I am used to my strength! I am used to taking in hand whatever I want to do and doing it!
But now I am moving very slowly and tiring quickly and my constantly flexing belly reminds me all day of the enormous task ahead of me and I feel small and weak.
The fact is, my strength is never my own. Don't I know that? I forget easily.
Lately it's all I can do to keep plodding along, doing just what I can, one thing after another, taking breaks, going slow. And I suddenly remember that I should be asking for strength. Any strength I have or have ever had comes from God and He provides me with a certain measure each day and I should be thankful.
I'm getting very impatient for this baby to be born, so I can have my body back, so I can start feeling "normal" again. But as I was weeding this morning, I realized that this impatience is not allowing me to live cheerfully and thankfully in the day I have right now. Each day is a day the Lord has made and given to me with a measure of strength. I get so bound up in work (also a blessing of the Lord), that I forget I shouldn't be rushing through in my mind, always on to the next thing, counting down the days, going forward to a certain point that I don't even know. They're already going by so fast, why should I be in a hurry to get on to the next? This baby will be born when it's ready, at the perfect day and time that is already set. Meanwhile, I should take each day thankfully and accomplish whatever I can without fretting about the rest. I can't know what's coming next, nor would I actually want to, but I should enjoy the "right now." Things can change quickly. I know lots of people who have had babies die. I even know of someone who recently had to say goodbye to an adult child. Shouldn't I savor every minute of every blessing?
I certainly should not be so overwhelmed about tomorrow and what still needs to be done and when this baby might be born and how I'm going to get through everything. God will give strength as I need it and everything will happen in good time. I get frustrated when everything I plant in the garden doesn't grow because I forget that it is not ME who makes it to grow. I'm being reminded in many ways that I have nothing that I haven't been given by my loving Heavenly Father and I should be thankfully relying on Him rather than myself.