Christianity, Faith, Gardening, Prayer, Relationships, Spirituality, Uncategorized

Gardens and Home Depot

The last few days have been incredibly busy – busy enough to put my thoughts from the porch on the back burner and take care of business. I must say there’s a feeling of satisfaction drawing lines through the items on the “To Do” list. The list is still longer than I’d like, but shorter than it was yesterday. I’ll chalk it up as a win. Unfortunately, I know it’s only temporary. My wife’s in the other room watching a whole season of HGTV’s Fixer-Upper. The list is growing longer as we speak…

I spent some time on the porch and retreated to my office to catch up on emails and check the morning newsfeeds. One service, who shall remain anonymous, listed seven top stories. Number five on the list was actual news about what’s going on in the world. Number seven was a good human-interest story related to a victim of the Waffle House shootings several days ago. The number one top story was about Tom Brady’s tuxedo choice and the rest were about the difficulties and fashion faux pas` of other celebrities. And we wonder how our elected officials got to where they are…

I generally start my mornings with some prayer time followed up with perusing my newsfeeds before sitting down to my workday. Maybe my routine should be the other way around though. I seem to need to pray more after I see what’s going on in the world. I refuse to be that guy who sits around bemoaning the state of the nation and society in general. I may be getting older, but I’m not an old codger. Then again, one doesn’t have to be old to be an “old codger”.

My experience has taught me that it’s not important what you do, it’s important what I do. Sometimes that feels like a cop-out, a resignation to what’s going on around me, but I know it’s not. “That’s just the way it is” and “you can’t fight city hall” are unacceptable answers for me today. I can be part of the problem or part of the solution. There’s no middle ground for me. I’d rather be part of the solution. To paraphrase Jesus, “I can either serve God, living as a citizen of His kingdom, or I can serve the same old, tired system of consumerism and scarcity”. I think I’d rather be a citizen of His kingdom…

My actions may not seem like much, and truth be known, they aren’t when taken separately. For instance, I care about the environment I live in. I can’t stop Big Ag from using GMO seeds and increasing amounts of fertilizers that drain the life from the soil. Oh, I can sign petitions and write letters to the appropriate officials. It may do absolutely nothing to sway their actions, but I keep sending and signing anyway. Moreover, I treat my own yard and garden with care, using only organic methods that restore and rejuvenate the soil. Maybe my neighbors see a difference in my yard and want to try something different. Hopefully, my actions affect someone else.

I was at Home Depot the other day. The check-out line was long and excruciatingly slow. I had a tight schedule and that seemed to add to the delay. The cashier was helping an older lady who was having some difficulty getting her credit card to go through. Behind her in line was a large, gruff man who huffed and puffed about how Home Depot was always so slow and inconvenienced him. I silently prayed that the elderly lady at the check-out didn’t hear him. When she finally closed out her sale, the man stepped up and began to berate the cashier with a series of expletives about her and Home Depot. I felt really bad for the young cashier, but I admired her ability to refrain from responding in a negative way.

When I got to the register all I could say was how sorry I was for her to be treated that way. She smiled and said, “thank you” and I could see her holding back the tears. I told her how grateful I was for her example and patience. She seemed to be struck by the kind words. I don’t have any idea how the rest of her day went. I do know that, for a moment, her world was a letter brighter. Maybe, just maybe, she got a glimpse of the kingdom. Acts of kindness are better done intentionally than randomly.

Nothing I do will change the world in general or society at large. Life will go on. My news feed will be filled with stories of violence, fear, and celebrity tuxedo choices, and so on. Yet, what I do does affect the world around me. I’d like to think that the cashier at Home Depot had a better day, and I know that the produce from my garden will taste far better than anything I could have gotten at the store…

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