I stood in the yard this morning, smiling at my mistake. I’d thought I’d be standing around a lot since our 10-week-old puppy, Skipper, is still eagle bait. And not eagles only–we’ve had a hawk and an owl peruse the fuzzy little morsel as he scampers through the grass.
What I’m learning as I take the pup to the yard 200 times a day and watch for raptor shadows is how to redeem the time. I’m learning how to use the minutes outside and appreciate life’s close-ups as I pull weeds and plant seeds.
In those minutes, so far, I’ve cleared a rectangle of dirt inside the picket fence that (mostly) keeps the rabbits out. I’ve propped tomato cages over tomato starts in front of delphinium spikes and clouds of peonies. I’ve patted dirt into hills for my little granddaughter to poke her beloved cucumber seeds in the ground.
The bean seeds sprout in wet paper towels beneath the kitchen window. The Brussels sprouts, peppers, and nasturtiums snuggle along the edges of the tiny garden. I picked tent caterpillars off the raspberry vines and watered the side gardens I usually forget.
I squatted down to tease the tiny tendrils apart. If you’ve ever done this, you know how difficult it is. The tendrils are thinner than a thread but strong in their coil. I thought about the power of little prayers, of clinging tightly to God moment by moment.
The pea plants grow joint by joint, short sections and long, always their tendrils reaching out. My life and yours grow season by season, short ones and long, with grace to reach out to God in the little moments, even when we feel thinner than a thread.
I tug gently at the little vines. I know if they remain tangled in the dirt they’ll rot. They need to stretch upwards to the sun to make space for plump pods–plentiful, tasty, and tender.
Sometimes we get tangled up in circumstances until we’re just a rotting clump of ourselves. But God doesn’t want to leave you or me that way. He wants to untangle us and point us toward the Son. He wants us to reach for the beautiful idea He had when He made us.
Taking pea vines apart, even gently, makes them go limp for a while. Sometimes we lose our grip on God but God never loses His grip on us. His love is both timely and timeless. His eye is ever on us. He tends us gently and lifts us up. He makes us strong and complete.
This morning, I propped the pea vines against the lattice. With faithful tending, they’ll rise up to the sun and grow strong, too. In fact, it’s probably time to check them again. Are you ready, Skipper? I have some valuable minutes to redeem!