Last spring a group of large dudes who have come to be known as The Big Guns built some raised garden beds in our backyard. I love to garden, and this project felt like a big ‘ole sloppy kiss from the Lord right on my cheek. The vegetables, the teachable moments, the vegetables that teach me in moments…our backyard is becoming a full heart kind of place for me. And an unanticipated bonus of this whole yard project: the smells.
Now, granted, I have a very sensitive smeller, so maybe this won’t apply to everyone…but the smells, the smells…they are getting me. I *adore* the smell of a freshly pinched tomato sucker. And bitty E tells me blooming bee balm “smells like cleaner.” (Still not quite sure what that means.) The dirt, even some of the fertilizer (that’s weird, right?), my herbs…I love it all.
But there is one smell that is getting me good.
We used 4×4 cedar posts to construct the raised beds. While The Big Guns were here, they went ahead and cut the remaining posts to construct an archway over our fence gate at a later point in time. (Sometimes Big Guns tire of carting around Heavy Electric Saws.)
Those cedar posts have taken up residence in our garage, just to the side of my car. And they have lit up our garage. Previously the garage smells were not of such a nice variety. Yes, on occasion, based on perfect weather conditions and zero humidity, the garage would smell pleasant. Like a garage should. However, we live in the deep south. Like, put on your diving gear deep. And we have a diapered toddler. So most days our garage smells like hot trapped trash.
Enter cedar posts, stage right.
I’m terrible at following directions. This fact has resulted in many quandaries through the years, like the time I decided I didn’t need driving directions for a trip back to college one semester, and for about two-hundred of the four-hundred-mile journey, I drove in the wrong direction.
There was that time.
I also neglect directions when it comes to putting furniture together. Once I pull out the pieces and lay out the various tools, screws, and parts, I simply start. The directions can usually be found in the trash because I have convinced myself: I can figure it on my own.
And this is why we have unnecessary holes in bookshelves, why we have a lop-sided chair, and why our music stands pop off every time I pull them up.
As ridiculous as my attitude is toward following directions, I’ve realized that my disposition toward Scripture can too easily slip into a similar mindset: I know it’s important, but I’ve read it before. Or, sadly, I will first seek my own solutions to difficulties in life rather than searching the Bible for answers; perhaps there is a part of me that believes I can figure it out on my own.
If you struggle to read the Bible because you don’t think it’s necessary, or if you’re tempted to believe that it doesn’t make a difference in your life, take a look with me at the particular words chosen by the Psalmist in Psalm 19.
God woke me up and showed me Jesus when I was in high school. My one and only high school boyfriend was about to escort me to a fancy Christmas party, and I was stoked. I’d noticed him acting a little strange recently, but I was sure it would pass. Instead, after the party he drove me to a quiet, romantic spot, and broke up with me.
I was devastated. My mother shouldered the burden of sorrow and rejection with me, but I refused to be comforted. As far as I was concerned, I was not only unloved, I was unlovable. Days turned into weeks. Then of all things, my mother—who was not the Bible thumping type—said this, “Rondi, you’ve got to get a hold of yourself. You need to ‘put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the waters.’”
In a flash, the Holy Spirit connected the dots for me. The Jesus of my childhood suddenly became the mighty Savior of the Scriptures who had come to rescue me. The 1971 folk song brought a portion of God’s word to life and Jesus stepped off the page.
It’s the Thursday before Easter, and we’re heading home from church, each of us sitting in our own bubbles of silence. The communion service quieted our hearts to ponder Jesus’ last supper with His disciples and the coming crucifixion tomorrow.
“Tomorrow!” My thoughts interrupt. “That means it’s only 3 days until Easter. What should go with the ham? Do Tyler’s pants that match his Easter shirt still fit? Oh, and I need shoes. Yikes. I can’t forget to grab peanut butter eggs and another dozen eggs to dye.”
By the time Easter dinner dishes are piled in the sink and candy wrappers lay on the dining table, I’m ready to sit down. That’s when I wonder what happened to Easter. How could I have let the celebrations hijack the resurrection? I hate to admit it, but during the Easter service, I tried to conjure gratitude and joy, but I hear the message so often and seem to have grown unresponsive. I wasn’t prepared, at least not in my heart.
I practice Advent to prepare for Christmas. Why not prepare for Easter? Is Lent a Biblical practice?