One of my favorite things about spring is that it is planting season. It is such a powerful reminder of our life, our character, our children. We start small – but with constant care, water, sunlight, we will grow – bigger, more beautiful, stronger.
The kids wanted to plant a garden in the backyard this year. Last year, we didn’t get a chance to venture that far. So, they took the weekend to clear the old bed of the pine needles, decade-old debris, and weeds. My boy even pulled out his wire saw to cut down some unwieldy bushes.
We went to the garden center, bough the dirt, walked through the aisle picking out flowers, veggies, and more flowers. A picture was starting to form in their minds of the garden that they would plant.
We got home, and they laid out the landscape of choice, taller flowers in the back, shorter flowers in the front, ground flowers spaced out. I explained how to mix in the plant food when planting, and we were all ready to go, garden spades and gloves in hand when one of the girls looked up and asked, “Where does the sun hit the most?” We all paused. Discussed. Only to realized, we actually didn’t know. The backyard is on the west side of the house, and we have a few very tall trees on either side.
We decided to pause for the day, and observe the next day to see where the sun hit the most. A day later, we were all standing in the backyard with sad news, there was almost no direct sun at any point in the day in the backyard. We deliberated for a little, a sinking feeling started growing in my belly. “What about out grand plans?”
Then one child bravely proposed, “Let’s plant in the front.” We all marched up to the front, and took a look. It was overgrown, lots of lawn, very little planting bed. We essentially would be starting again. My first reaction was, “let’s scrap the project.” But before the words came out of my mouth, I turned to the kids, saw their eyes full of anticipation in the joy that awaited, saw the little flowers waiting to be planted, pink, purple, while, blue, and instead I grabbed the shovel and said, “Let’s break the ground to get it ready for the garden.”
It was hard work. The boys came in handy – breaking up the lawn, turning the soil, shaking off the dirt from the grass. “This is called tilling the soil,” I said half in jest. “This is how our ancestors started their farms and their houses. Today, we get to connect with them.”
Finally we got the ground turned and enriched with compost. The joyful moment of planting had arrived!!! All the children gathered around, reaching out for their plant, and moving it to its new home.
Hours later, I stood, gazing at the colorful patch in our front yard. The joy was worth it. And I had a moment that connected to God’s history. Plan A doesn’t always turn out, but we have to be willing to turn to something else, and “break new ground.” That has been the name of the game – and that is the secret to progress.