Monday, June 23, 2014

Bounty and the Very Good

 My date for the weekend, not looking too happy.
He thought he was going outside to play, then he got roped into picture-taking.

This week:

~Another lovely bridal shower for Krista, my son's fiance. When we walked up to the front door of her aunt's house, we saw beautiful chalkboard lettering that read, "33 days till she's Mrs. Murphy!" I got teary-eyed. It's such a precious time for them. Also, WHAT?? Mrs. Murphy? I'm hardly Mrs. Murphy myself. That would be Nate's mom. She's the real Mrs. Murphy!

~My adored Gramma Ericson's piano was delivered to our house, courtesy of my aunt and uncle. Anna Kate has been over the moon about it. She learned by leaps and bounds on our keyboard, but she was always hankering after a real piano. She will not stop playing. The other morning, Nate and I were trying to pray together, and finally he hollered at her to stop the music. Then he muttered to me, "It sounds like a freaking saloon in here." She spent most of the weekend taking off the bench upholstery and painting the seat of the bench. It's white, but she might give it a coat of green eventually.

~The garden is growing, but the weeds in the yard are growing faster. When we moved here, this had been farmland. Not one useful thing grew on our 2 1/2 acres. We planted trees and sculpted hills and created gardens and sowed lawn. Now the perimeters of our property have become a sort of wild beast. There's an unidentified weed that is climbing along the hills, snaking up into the pine trees and threatening to overtake  them. Our weed trees, which are Siberian Elm, are pure evil and must be eradicated. Suddenly there are thousands of them. Nate and the boys used to cut them down every summer, which is sweaty, dirty work. The trees have to be cut about an inch below the ground. I'm trying to cut down about 20 per day. Nate and his knee are still out of commission, so he can't do heavy yard work. And of course we miss our handy dandy big boys, who after years of manual labor around here decided to become an engineer and a doctor. Whatever.    

Today I'm going to replant some of the garden rows where nothing has come up. I found these striped zucchini seeds, and I'll plant about two of them. They're saved from our harvest of a few years ago, and I hope they still "work." We want zucchini, but we don't want to be overwhelmed by zucchini.

The upcoming wedding, the garden, the seeds, all remind me of a post from last summer. Here is part of what I wrote then. If your life seems barren and hopeless these days, remember that something is always growing. God is in the business of creating, every day, every minute. Someday you will see fruit. Until then, rest in the hope of a future bounty, a feast so delicious that it will fill every empty space.

As I listened to Michael and Brooke say their vows to each other, I thought,
These vows are thorough, they cover just about everything.
I liked that they promised not to slander one another.
My husband and I talked about those vows, as we drove home after the wedding.
Maybe they were idealistic, we agreed.
It's impossible not to be a bit idealistic, when you're twenty-one years old and full of love.
When you say "For richer or poorer,"
you're imagining richer.
When you say, "In sickness and in health,"
you cannot predict what sickness might look like, 
or how it can destroy peace and rob joy.
We know something about that.  
I think of the marriages I know
that have begun in a cloud of hope and optimism, 
and have been ground down to death.
Usually the death is brought on by either generational curses
or by addiction.
We know something about that, too.

I have great hope for Michael and Brooke,
and for the other couples we saw married this summer.
The way I see it, 
they're part of the story of God,
part of His "tov," His "very good,"
and what they did, in this culture of death and man-made definitions, 
was to choose life.

I thought a lot about life, about "tov," about God's plan for renewal and rebirth,
when we planted our garden this spring.
The Hebrew word "tov" has subtle variations of meaning, 
one being "its good is hidden within it."
Some seeds don't grow.
They have no life in them.
Other seeds, the good ones, the very good ones,
grow beautifully.
And what they produce, the fruit that we can eat and not be afraid of eating,
is so good that it too contains seeds of life,
seeds that are very good,
seeds that we can use again next year.

And that is "tov."
It regenerates.
The life in it grows, and nurtures, and gives birth to more life, more nurture.
And that is why I still believe in marriage.
Because it's not just about love.
It's about life.

Genesis 1:27-31
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

And God blessed them. And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth." And God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.  

Another excuse to hear a favorite song by Josh Garrels.  Listen to it here.

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