I stood watching our five-year-old grandson digging in our front garden. I had suggested we pull out an almost dead shrub—a task he carried out with great relish! But now came the tricky part—preparing the ground for whatever I would decide to plant there next.
Our Zain can be an excellent helper. The previous week, he and I cleaned our very dirty garage door that rarely gets closed because my car cannot fit in our carport! Zain did an amazing job, scrubbing hard and hosing down everything in sight—including me! But gardening? Well, let’s just say I was a little concerned about the welfare of the other nearby plants in my garden.
However, I had promised he could help, so we forged ahead. I let him use my small trowel to form a neat hole that soon became bigger … and bigger … and bigger. I hurriedly pushed some dirt back in and suggested we didn’t need it quite that wide. So then our hole became deeper … and deeper … and deeper instead! At that point, I explained we needed to water the ground, so it would be nice and moist for the new plant. And soon my little helper had created an interesting mud puddle, complete with brown bubbles gurgling up in the middle.
Deciding distraction was the best option, I suggested we head off to buy our new shrub. Nurseries are not the best place for active grandsons, so I decided the first native plant I saw on a ‘specials’ table would do. Anyway, how could I go past a shrub called ‘Nandina Nana’? We headed home and Zain seemed determined to get our purchase into the ground as quickly as possible—even though I could see that hole was not exactly where I wanted it.
The next day, when I checked on our handiwork, I noticed the ground was still soft. So—you guessed it—on the spur of the moment, I dug my little shrub up and moved it about twenty centimetres to the left, where I had wanted it to be all along! Hopefully, Zain will never know. And yes, my ‘Nandina Nana’ is still alive—for now at least.
As I reflected on our gardening attempt, I could not help but remember the many times God has had to exercise great patience with me, as I forged ahead willy-nilly in life, wanting to help others without stopping to listen. How many times has God mopped up messes I created as a result? Just as well the Supreme Fixer-Upper has been so ready to forgive my failures and mistakes, put my botched efforts to rights and enable me to stand tall again.
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. … As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. Psalm 103:8, 13-14
Each day as I walk past my new little shrub, may it continue to remind me to be so thankful for our patient, compassionate God. May I learn to listen more often—and then obey. And may God enable me to show something at least of that same patience and compassion towards others, including our lively grandson!
Posted in Devotions, Reflections | Tagged 13-14, Bunnings, cleaning garage doors, formed from dust, gardening advice, God’s compassion, God’s grace, grandchildren helping in the garden, minding grandchildren, Nandina Nana, nandina shrubs, native plant nurseries, native plants, Psalm 103:8, relocating plants, small garden trowel, soil preparation, the compassionate Father, the fear of God, the patience of God, Zain | Leave a Comment »
I wonder if you have ever experienced one of those days when it is brought home to you how short life really is. Last week, three events converged in one twenty-four hour period that highlighted for me the fact that our lives here on earth do not last forever.
The first event was my birthday. Now, I haven’t hit the big three score year and ten as yet—although I’m not far off! To be honest, I don’t mind growing older, for various reasons. For a start, I think I am finally learning some wisdom from life’s experiences and from what God has shown me over the years—and it feels good to be able to pass this onto others when I speak publicly or in the course of a private conversation, as well as via my writing. But secondly, it means I know am getting nearer to meeting Jesus face to face. With that in mind, things seem to fall into perspective in life so much more readily, don’t you think?
The second event that same day was our five year old grandson’s visit. He arrived, full of energy as usual, ringing the doorbell, then running and hiding, so that we had to say to his mum, ‘Oh hello! I thought you were bringing Zain today! I wonder where he is!’ Throughout the day, as I chatted to him, I was amazed at the way his curious little mind works. He is at an important threshold in his life, about to start ‘big school’, and I wonder what all the years ahead will hold for him. What direction will he choose to take in life? Where will his focus be?
The third experience my birthday held was an appointment in a nearby retirement village to inspect a unit. As we waited for the sales person, I glanced around and noted several elderly people engaged in various activities. They moved slowly—in stark contrast to our grandson, who wanted to run everywhere and was so curious about everything! Some smiled politely, but I wondered if our grandson was making far too much noise for them in this quietest of places. Sometime in the distant past, those people had been young too. They had been full of energy and curiosity, running around everywhere like our grandson—yet now life has slowed down so much more for them. What had they done in those intervening years, I wondered. Had their dreams been fulfilled? Had they lived for God? Were they looking forward to that day when they would meet God face to face?
In James 4:13-14, we find the following solemn reminder:
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
Yes, on my birthday, I was reminded again how nebulous and brief our lives truly are, when compared with eternity and when viewed from God’s perspective. So, before we vanish like that swirling mist, let’s live each day well, trusting God with all our tomorrows, grasping every opportunity to love and bless others and to shine God’s light wherever we are!
Posted in Devotions, Reflections, Writing | Tagged movies | 4 Comments »