My friend Caroline decided to have a garden this year. There's something you should know about Caroline-- in my opinion, everything she touches turns to pure gold. Or yummy food. Or gorgeous art. Or refreshed soul. Or encouraged student. You name it, it improves if she touches it.
I remember limping up to her above-ground garden at the beginning of the summer. I was still pretty weak, just getting mobile, when Don and I stopped by to say hey to Caroline and Robert and they had to show us the home-made garden box (made from Robert's old bunk bed from his UGA dorm days). The dark soil surface was scattered with tiny plants and herbs, and where there were no plants, Caroline would point and prophesy: "cucumber" and "zinnia" and "watermelon" and "lettuce." Lettuce? Who grows lettuce? How cool is that?
I remember being eaten up by mosquitoes as we stood there and admired their labor, laughing (because that is one funny group of people: Don, Caroline and Robert. I was their grateful audience) and looking forward to Caroline's first home-grown salad. Where there was nothing but a seed, dying and gestating in the earth in front of us, soon there would be something.
It leaves me thinking. There have been at least four weeks of long, hot, humid Southern summer days since we first saw the garden (I think in weeks these days, just like a new mother. Only I'm not marking off weeks between doctor visits and immunization, but weeks of "would have" and "supposed to be"). Her beds sit in the full sun, and she faithfully waters them in the prescribed manner (apparently there is a certain way to tend to raised beds). Today, the garden is virtually exploding. Ice box watermelons sit lumpy and cool looking next to tall, lovely zinnias, while tomatoes and cucumbers hang heavy and promising on the other end. Where before all we saw was dirt while we took Caroline's word for it, yesterday there was no arguing: she could definitely make a salad from the harvest she was reaping.
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
All those seeds were pushed deep into the ground by Caroline. She watered them and they died there. And they grew into big, huge, green life from the decay.
My prayer today, inspired by that itty bitty cucumber (sorry, Caroline-- I mean, that GREAT BIG CUCUMBER!), is that where there has been death in my life this season, much life would spring forth. And that, like Farmer Caroline as she pointed out the expected fruit from the bed of the garden, I would expect fruit to burst forth from the things that have died. Ben, the hopes and dreams that we had all wrapped up in him, and even my womb-- this baby was proof that I was not infertile. What now?
Life. That's what now.
(all of the pictures, except the one of Caroline posing with the fruit of her labor, were taken by Caroline!!)