The best place to seek God is in a garden. You can dig for him there.
~George Bernard Shaw, The Adventures of the Black Girl in Her Search for God, 1932
For the last couple of weeks, I have meditated on Anne Lamott’s reference to being an Easter people in a Good Friday world. I will say that while I get it spiritually and cognitively, some days, I just don’t have the emotional buy-in. And that’s when I hit the dirt.
Getting out of the car yesterday evening, I was beckoned by Daisy to come out and play in the gardens. She was right. It had been too long, and with rain coming, it would be a great evening to finish the last two vegetable areas and plant seed.
I ran inside, threw on my overalls and old tennis shoes, and headed out into the yard. No music, no gloves, no tools. Just Daisy, myself and the earth underneath our bodies.
Together, we weeded the path where her chicken feed had sprouted into green shoots. What does grace look like? A chicken who loves you so much that she scratches up all the weeds in no time so you can move on to your favorite task–planting seeds.
I gathered the packets, the extra chicken wire fencing and a shovel then set to work. There is something to be said about the therapy Creation has to offer. Over the years, I’ve come to define it as this:
- It centers our spirit by connecting us with what is at the root of our being–creation, re-creation, and God
- It eases tension by providing a healthy and natural release
- It integrates the senses by engaging them in tasks that require input from the whole body
- It utilizes simple practices and activities that redirect us from negative or chaotic situations and focus us on the quiet, peaceful place within and around us
- It removes any barriers between us and the Creator so that we are free to pray, listen, discern, laugh, cry, yell, whisper, and just be.
Most importantly, it reminds us that all of the “Good Friday” darkness is only one piece of the web of life–and that even in darkness, there is the hope of rebirth and renewal.
After three hours, last night, I headed toward the front porch to reward Daisy with her mealworms and to take a moment to survey the work I’d accomplished. While I was pleased to see the new gardens taking shape, I was emotionally and spiritually moved by the dark earth ground into the knees of my overalls. It put life into perspective. It balanced out the challenging day with a peaceful evening.
But most importantly, it connected me with the Beloved who reminded me that the world and I are re-created every day through love, through grace, through hope, and yes, through a little digging in the dirt, too.