Upon letting the roots of my newly purchased bare root rose soak in a bucket of water for approximately 24 hours, I decided to recruit my 11 year old son in helping me plant it. Although willing to help me out, my son was not keen on getting his hands too dirty. After all, his hands prefer Legos and videos games. Nevertheless, I figured he could use the sunshine and learn a thing or too in the process. After choosing the desired area of where I wanted to plant my new rose, we saturated the ground to make the digging easier while also testing the drainage of soil. My son and I then took a few turns plunging the shovel in the dirt till we reached the width and depth we needed. By this point, we were ready to transplant the bare root rose from being in the bucket filled with water to it’s permanent home in the ground. Because the ground was reasonably muddy, I put on pink rubber gloves to protect my freshly 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 it’s roots out as best as possible for optimal growth. While 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 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 both follow and ponder God and His instructions, 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 seems to constantly and creatively be digging deep for us with the hopes we’d be firmly rooted in His garden.