The plans were laid, the seed catalogues were dog eared and marked…my Em’s were brewing…the grass seed was ordered, bookmarked gardening books littered my nighstand, and the help was lined up…After a few years of waiting, I was finally getting my garden!!…My garden would be a prayer…it would pray. I would fall asleep at night taking in my imagination the lovely days of rewarding hard work that lie ahead and dream of the feel of the warm sun on my skin, dirt under my fingernails, and wind through my hair.
Then it hit…the van was dead…the one day we were actually able to use, we leveled the yard and threw down grass seed and in an unexpected turn of events, the straw was not delivered…the rain fell in buckets and washed part of the yard away…with it a days work and lots of seed… Extra bills came rolling in and over our garden fund…the Marian project was shelved.
How could this happen? It was the best laid plan!…It would give praise to God!…would He not want this?
Ever hear that saying…if you want God to laugh, tell him your plans? Well…at least God can be in good humor this summer…MY plans did not work out…but HIS did….it wasn’t in the big picture of a manicured lawn and a beautifully arranged garden that praised God this season.
…it was the little 3yo boy covered in dirt trying to find out what grew under the dirt…what kind of rocks God planted there….GOD PLANTING TREASURED ROCKS?…yes, and so He did!
…Was it in the myriad of dandelions that some call weeds drooping over half filled glasses that adorned my home in many places? …Yes, and so it was……it was a gift of love from this three year old to his mother….”Mommy, I picked this bea-u-ti-ful flower for YOU!! Mommy, I love the yellow sunny ones!”…lovingly chanted with the biggest smile and a heart so full of love that it overflowed from his heart and in trails all about the place…flowing out alll over his dusty fingerprints and footprints wherever he skipped.
I wanted a garden that was welcome with open arms to children…and so it was…even with the half gone jungle gym in the back yard….The kids put their immaginations together and strung up their own rope swings. It was a garden of catapults and exploding volcaones and gallons of vinegar and baking soda mysteriously missing… It was a place where a creative older brother fashioned a home-made kiddie pool complete with a water slide and around it lie many sets of wet footprints especially those of a small pudgy-footed toddler next to the larger wet footprints of her 5yo older sister. It was a garden of dust covered smiling faced children creating their own outdoor track for their bike races where the littlest ones always won. It was a garden of artistic creation and the historic adventure of sailing ships and of Robin Hood, kings and queens, knights and ladies, daring feats of heroism, and pioneer survival. …and a garden of paint and cardboard and duct tape and bubbles and ice cream.
It was a garden of observations of nest building birds, collecting fireflies in the deepening dusk while trying not to smoosh them too tightly in little fingers, and flitting butterflies that shook some of their joy down on us. It was also the sight of a marvelous discovery by my 10 yo ds of a huuuge bug skin that was immortalized a digital photo in the nature notebook… A discovery by a boy who doesn’t “like" to draw…but God drew him in anyway…
God has a way of doing that with us…in the sweet simple ways, He draws us in and nourishes our whole being with His presence. It isn’t the physical that is the reality, it is the disposition of our hearts. If it takes the removal of all of the trappings of life to get our attention, God will do it…to bring us back to the basics…He instructs our intellect and our will. He molds us not only with his hands, but within His heart. In the smallest, in the least noticed things…He is present in all His magnificence.
There are those that will pass this way without noticing the love He has strewn so generously in our paths. He wanted us to notice this summer. He wanted an attitude from us that would allow Him to move in and amongst us…maybe that is what we needed more to learn. I surrendered my will in a little way and God blessed us in so many ways.
Right now in the area I wanted to plant this wonderful garden are two gifts from God…one, a 2ft tall statue of Our Lady of Mt Carmel ~an unexpected gift given to us by a friend who was prayerfully trying to find someone to give it to that would love and care for it. It has one hand that needs to be re-attached. The other, a prize won at our annual parish picnic…an Our Lady of Guadalupe rosebush! ~Thank you, God!
GOD supplied what we needed…A HAND…Mary held out Her hand to us… I took that hand in trust and climbed up into my mothers lap with wide eyes and begun my lessons. Here in Her lap the school of Mary began for us this summer….to beome child-like and with me and all of my children to play in Her garden. To Jesus through Mary…as scripure says:
"But Jesus called them to him, saying, "Let the children come to Me, and do not hinder them for to such belongs thew kingdom of God. Truly I say to you, Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it." ~ Luke 18:16-17
In our play we make our hearts pray…and God is glorified in that.
~The sacrificial giving of our dreams in an attitude of thanksgiving??…yes!
~An attitude of play is an attitude of prayer??….Yes!
And in the small, in the little, we find an abundance of consolation and abundance of awe and wonder and creativity…in the ordinary…with this attitude…all things become extra~ordinary. And God’s presence brings a certain kind of heart-warming joyful peace.
In today’s Second Reading, St Paul exhorts us “Play to the Lord in your hearts”, and this summer we have had our mission …to focus on this experience of play in the world around us…to enjoy the presents of God’s presence in the little things and in each other so that His magnificence may become manifest in us.