The Glory of Gardening

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Digging Deep

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Upon letting the roots of my newly purchased bare-root rose soak in a bucket of water and fish fertilizer for approximately 24 hours, I decided to recruit my then 11-year-old son in helping me plant it in late March (the region you are located in will determine when the best time is to plant a rose bush – typically Spring or Fall). Although willing to help me out, my son was not keen on getting his hands too dirty. After all, his hands prefer Legos and video games. Nevertheless, I figured he could use the sunshine and learn a thing or two in the process. After choosing the desired area where I wanted to plant my new rose, we saturated the ground to make the digging easier while also testing the drainage of the soil. My son and I then took a few turns plunging the shovel in the dirt till we reached approximately 18 wide by 18 inches deep. The variant of rose will dictate how much spacing is needed between plantings but on average allow for 2 – 4 feet in between rose bushes. By this point, we were ready to transplant the bare root rose from being in the bucket to its permanent home in the ground. Because the ground was reasonably muddy, I put on pink rubber gloves to protect my painted nails. Apparently, even I don’t like to get my hands too dirty!

I proceeded to create a mound of soil in the shape of a pyramid within the hole so I could rest the rose on top of the mound while sprawling its roots out as best as possible for optimal growth. barerootplanted.webWhile holding the rose in one hand, or glove I should say, I used the other to pack the dirt around the roots as well as the dirt around the base of the rose till she was firmly secure. Overall, the process of planting our newly adopted rose was a success, but we sure did make a muddy mess.

Many days later, I reflect on how we as people of faith often like the beauty of our religious traditions and concepts much like we enjoy the beauty of roses or the idea of a lovely garden. However, we don’t usually like to be too inconvenienced by getting our hands dirty by volunteering or digging too deep into theological thinking. It’s far easier to be comfortable in our faith journey than to potentially be inconvenienced or challenged as we seek to serve others and ponder God’s ways, for example. More often we prefer to stand around like my son and watch others dig for God. Or if we do take the plunge, we set limits on our love by wearing gloves, so the depth of our devotion doesn’t stain our nails, alter our appearance, or even transform us. And yet, God’s great love, wisdom, and mercy seem to constantly and creatively be digging deep for us with the hopes we’d be firmly rooted in His garden.