I spent an hour in the Burpee Seed aisle at Menards today. For me, it was a little slice of heaven. For my daughter, it was just short of purgatory.
My love for this time of year started early in my life. Each March my dad set up a table and lights in the basement and planted flower seeds. Marigolds, impatiens, and zinnias are what I remember the most, and are still what he supplies to all our local extended family. Once I took markers and drew flowers on the rough wood 1x2s that edged the table. My childish script can still be seen in his workshop “Planting, Dad and Me.” This was high entertainment. The fresh smell of the dirt. The sound of it sprinkling onto newspaper laid out to catch overflow from the planters. Dirty hands crunching up last year’s marigold blossom heads into individual seeds. Time with my papa.
Early on in our marriage, Matt got me a set of two grow lights, a board, and frames to make a platform. It only holds about four flats of plants, but so much life fits in there. It also makes a convenient salad bar for our cat, so we set up the Spring Preview in a small storage closet in the basement. There’s just enough room for a folding chair in there, so sometimes I escape from the busyness around the house to go sit and look at the flowers and vegetables growing. To breathe in the quiet and the vibrant shades of green.
In some ways it’s the best part of the growing season. My heart is full of perfect dreams as I plant seeds and plan. In my head, everything grows well. No bugs, disease, hail storms, or plant cussedness disturb my contentedness. Everything blooms beautifully and produces deliciously.
In reality, this oasis of perfection cannot last long. The plants themselves long to spread their roots in the earth and stretch out their branches in space and sunshine. They will not fully flower or bear fruit on my little table in my basement. I can give them an excellent start on their lives, but I cannot fulfill what they were made to be within the confines of my closet.
So too it is with my children. I plant in them the seeds of the fruit of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22, 23a). I teach them to know the Lord and to trust Him with their lives. I water and care for them, loving (or trying to remember to sit down amidst my busyness, and love) this time of perfect dreams and the vibrant shades of their childhood. Because one day will come when our little home will be too small for the big stuff God put in their hearts.