The soil is hardened slowly over time. It longs to drink of the rains from heaven. It accepts whatever is poured into it. Having no discernment over what to expel.
Hands. Dig deep into the earth. After they have watered it, to soften it. Now these hands can turn over the soil and let the wind breath into its staleness. Slowly but surely it is coming back to life. As the hands of the gardener dig deep, the soil is broken. It crys out for rest. To be left untouched. It fears the breaking, digging and turning. It would rather lay there dormant and at peace. Calm under no pressure of change.
But the gardener sees its worth, its grand potential. He knows how beautiful and rich and lively this soil was at its first. At its untouched beginning. “Blessed and beautiful” the gardener said. “What?”, I said. The thought, the condition, seemed unimaginable. So I did not believe these words were about me. Who would ever look at this barreness and make such a claim.
“Leave me alone” I cried. Touch me no more. Your hands hurt too much. This soil was once untouched and now after all these years must remain untouchable. I am untouchable. So please respect my miserable condition. At least I am undisturbed. That is, until I let you come around.
“Okay” the gardener said. But he seemed to have a grief, a tear, and sigh in his voice. Its as if he had his heart set on this soil. As if there was something…….like treasure hidden beneath it. Well, I am not an island and I have no X scratched on me indicating such a posibility, so he is gravely mistaken if he does have this sort of obsurb childish thought in his head. It is a laughable thought!
Things were quiet for a while. Until a day came when I noticed the gardener walking my way again. “He’s up to something.” I thought to myself. And I was surprised when he simply came over and poured this beautiful fresh water on me. It was…….like no other water I have ever drank. It tasted…well it almost didn’t taste, yet I would say it had a sweetness but one I have not known before…. I think. This puzzled me and I felt……. I felt……. something. So I said a silent thank you of sorts, I guess, just by accepting this drink of his water. Whatever kind it was.
Then once again, it seemed only a day or two later…… he did it again. And this became a frequent thing. And I felt as if I should……say something. “Who are you? Why do you want to garden here in me?”, I said. “I AM Blessed and Beautiful. And I chose you as my garden a very long time ago. And I do not change or back out of a agreement.” “Agreement… What agreement?”, I said. “A deed. I bought this land, you and all that is around you. So I have wanted to claim what is in it as my own ever since.”….. annoyed I replied,”Well, this is allot of land, so you have allot to enjoy without needing little o’l me. So perhaps you should move onto other ground.” But the he said something that I couldn’t believe. “No, actually the earth is not enough for me. I bought it simply because I wanted you. You are the reason I purchased all this land. I consider you a treasure, and I decided to call you, ‘Blessed and beautiful’, just like me. I want to plant a beautiful garden in you, many seeds of many kinds, all of which will one day grow to maturity and bear fruit for me and all who pass by. This is all I want, to bless you and make you beautiful. To take this empty dry piece of ground and transform it into a garden, an oasis in the midst of this whole earth. I just want to exalt you to beauty for all around to see. They will know it is I who made you like this, they will praise me, and that is good. I will get all the credit, you will get so much more than you ever could have had without me. You will become rich with life, so abundant with every beautiful fruitful plant, bush, vine and tree. What a paradise, heaven, and wonder you could be to the world! What do you think of that my little Dusty!?” “Oh, great!” I thought to myself, “He has Dad jokes too! And I have a new nickname. Just what ive always wanted!”, But… then I started to think over what he said…… alllll that he said. This whole, “Blessed and Beautiful” talk was starting to make some sense…… I admit and I do confess that this ground is pretty lifeless, infact all that is here are brambles, briers, thorns and thistles. What in the world is he thinking? Does he understand what he is getting himself into?… So I asked him, “What about all thus junk— you know— the pokey stuff. Thorns and etc. I mean, even that pretty rose over there has some vicious teeth on her! Whatcha gonna do about that thing?” Then he said, “I AM going to pull it all up, one by one, replacing it all, and disposing of it in a land far far away. In fact, I will burn it too, maybe even toss the ashes into the ocean… a big deep spot! These weeds have a way or wiggling their way back into the earth where they once were. But don’t you worry my little Clod, I will be always be here working in my favorite garden, with my hands deep in this soil. And should that old stuff come back, start to sprout up again, I will tackle it once again. All you have to do is just keep letting me do my job of watering, digging, pulling, planting, tending and plucking; and you will be just fine! I promise.”….. “Wow……thats allot of work.”, I thought. “What if you get cut up real bad? I mean… Ive seen others who have tried to come near me get real torn up….like big time messed up! Aren’t you afraid of all that pain?”…..”No” he said, “I AM not afraid of what it will do to me.” Then he started showing me scar after scar, I mean, he had them everywhere. I suspect that not an inch on his body is without a scar. I didn’t understand where all these marks came from. But he assured me that I didn’t have to understand everything about his scars, all he wanted me to know is few simple things about his scars, and this is what he said, “I bought you with these scars, and I blessed you with thses scars. Now, with these scars I will make you beautiful, just as I AM.”
With this…. deep amazement and awe settling in my gut, I told him I wanted him to start right away. That I would accept him into this hard soil. That he could do whatever he thought best for me, removing anything he saw that needed to go. Even the pretty things I liked. I agreed to let him strip me bare and start from scratch. I told him he could break me, dig deep into me, turn me over, let the light touch soil thats been hidden deep in the dark. I told him that he could get to work immediately and I would stay out of his way.
He was so happy and started to pour out more of that special water, more than I ever thought I could hold. In fact, he soaked me through and through, so that it began to run like a stream in all directions from me, because I couldn’t soak it all in. It was wonderful! It was overwhelming. It was beautiful! Ive never been so full. I love this gardener. Who is this guy?
Then after the water settled, he began to place seeds into the ground. With each one, he pressed it gently into my soil with his finger, while saying a new and beautiful word, a unique word for each seed. “Love”, he said. Then “Joy” and “Peace…… Patience…… Kindness…… Gentleness…… Goodness…… Faithfulness……” Oh yeah, and a little gnarly looking seed that he called “Self-control”. Many of these words, these seeds, I have never heard of before….. or ever seen. Except perhaps from this new gardener friend of mine. So I really long to see how these will change me.
I haven’t seen those seeds in a while. I’ve been getting anxious to see one of them pop up, especially “Patience.”, that was a beautiful little seed. But, oddly enough I have a strange feeling it will show up last to this plant party! Ha ha. Especially knowing the humor of my gardener. But the gardener said not to worry about these. He said just to remeber to leave the garden alone, its his job. He just wants me to focus on him. To learn from him, just be friends and let him become one with me. He asked that I never resist his hands, to always let him dig into me with his gentle scarred hands. I realized that his scars are sensitive. They make him very gentle. He said sometimes the digging with his hands hurts him more than it hurts me. I think I can see why now. Its the wounds, and those scars, they cause him to move slowly and with purpose, with every move of his fingers. I believe in his gentleness, it calms my fear of being touched.
He also said that I caught on very quickly, because listening to his words, those seeds, is very important. Perhaps the most important part of the garden and our friendship. Because he said, if I were to not know what the seed is, I may not know what the fruit is that will come from it, or even believe that it would do anything at all. When I hear the word of the seed, it gives me faith and expectation of what will be. He said, “This seed looks much different from the plant and the fruit that comes from it.” But he said, “With those keen eyes and ears of faith, I am sure you will be able to spot it and by faith call it by its proper name.” Some of this made sense to me, but I am sure I will understand more once the seed sprouts and I begin to see what he was saying come to be.
The expectation of what this word will produce is just so great. I know that my expectations of all that will be, as he said they would be, will be met and doubly exceeded! He is just like that. With what I have seen him do in this garden already, I know he is faithful to this word, and will make it come to be what he said it will be.
He is a good gardener. With gentle hands. a Humble heart. Patient voice. Loving tones. a Persistent worker. He never sleeps. Works around the clock. He is not afraid to get all up in my dirt. I really am sure that he loves me. More sure everyday. This Most Blessed and Beautiful Gardener is mine. All mine. I am blessed, and I do believe that he will complete his goal to make me beautiful as he is Beautiful. A little piece of his glory in me.
Those feet that walk through my dirt and those hands that touch me, have blessed me and made me beautiful…… like I have never been before. And there’s still more to come………. at the end of the day, he always says, “Give thought to those words, and you will discover goodness is in them. Goodness for you… just for you…. my Bountiful Land.”
With each morning light, a ray, a light, reaches my heart, and touches my soul. A word, “Mercy”, is spoken on the wind, and I hear my Gardener…. singing a song on The Way to this work. All my grounds, hills and mountains join together, and happily break open with singing, and all my trees and their leaves begin to rustle like the sound of a great round of applause. Where there once was thorns, now are beautiful vines, and where there once was briers, now a blooming bush full of berries.
He has made his name known in me and posted a sign on this ground, that says, “Blessed and Beautiful.”, and has sworn it will never be taken down, but it will always remain there….. “as long as I live”, he said. These grasses, and these flowers come and go, but my gardener and his words never disappear or die. As this garden changes, he stays the same.
Of all thats blessed and beautiful in this garden, he still remains the Most Blessed and Most Beautiful… of it all.
A story of my heart,