A simple assignment. But, I was struggling with my attitude. I was driving to John’s house doing what I’d promised, but not with a whole heart. Instead, I was stressed out by all the other stuff I wasn’t doing at that moment. Homeschooling my kids. Finishing a writing project. Having longer devotions. Eating breakfast.
On Sunday, in the afterglow of worship, my wheelchair-bound friend’s request had seemed simple. Come take pictures of me garden before the blooms drop, John said. I wanna show me family me garden. His backyard plot is full of plants from his native Jamaica.
John has a gardener’s delight in the fruits of his labor. But, I’d sensed more than just that in his request. Gardens connect time and place. It seemed that John wanted to document how the seeds of his island home were flourishing in the Florida landscape. Even though he is now an old man, John is thriving too. I love my friend and wanted to honor this connection. So, on Sunday, I offered to take pictures that Wednesday. Now it was Wednesday, and I didn’t want to keep my promise anymore. My noble impulses had evaporated like the morning dew.
Kit-Kat was in the truck with me. She shares John’s love for growing things. They talk about their gardens and trade produce. But, she was not happy either. As we were leaving, a sister’s comment had found its mark and become a prickly thorn she was struggling to remove.
We drove through the beautiful mid-September morning wrestling with our emotions, not knowing that comfort was waiting in the garden of our friend. John was delighted to see us. He’d thought out every pose. After an hour or so with him, my ruffled spirit was soothed. All three of us were encouraged and strengthened for the day ahead.
Doing, led to feeling. Maybe it should be the other way around, but so often I have to wrangle my “wanting to” into “doing so” first. Over and over again, God seems to use the very things I dread to provide exactly what I need. The fact that such small seeds of obedience yield so much fruit just shows what a good Gardener God is.