I love having a vegetable garden. I love the idea of planning my dinner by what I can get from my garden. For years, my husband did not share my enthusiasm for a garden. He would often say that his garden was at the nearby grocery store and it didn’t require any sweat or strained muscles.
Years ago when we moved into our new home, good friends of ours were putting in their garden. All of a sudden, my husband was interested. Once it became a competitive event, he was very helpful in the planning, digging, shoveling and planting. After years of hauling dirt, compost, and timbers by myself, my husband was finally a gardener.
When the first crop came in, he was hooked. The veggies barely had to be cooked because they were so fresh. We had ample tomatoes, jalapeños, and onions for mere pennies. Which was good because we like to make salsa. In fact, when people ask what we grow in our garden, we jest, “Salsa!”
Year one and two of our garden were very successful. Those were the years we filled our garden plot with organic mushroom compost. Year three was the year of the short cut. My husband was traveling so I opted to buy bags of “mushroom compost” from a big box DIY store to save myself the trouble of shoveling. Well, the bags should have been labeled “weeds!” – or more accurately, “Weeds that choke out your vegetables and nearly ruin your garden!”
The next year, I decided not to cut corners and went back to the tried and true method of dirt hauling. I borrowed a friend’s truck and had the back filled with fresh, organic, mushroom compost. As I pushed the shovel into the pile of “dirt,” heat escaped. Now, that’s fresh! Then the smell hit me. It reminded me of the smell from outhouses where we used to camp in the Idaho mountains or the stockyards at the Houston Rodeo. Gross!
For hours and hours, I shoveled the foul smelling dirt out of the truck bed, into the riding lawn mower’s trailer, then out of the trailer and into the garden. Each shovelful made me want to gag. I tried to keep my mouth closed so that I wouldn’t have to “taste” the smell. It was awful!
Then a friend told me that it was chicken poop! Not mushrooms!
At one point, as I dragged myself up into the bed of the truck to shovel another load, I swear it was like a scene from Charlie Brown where the flies circle Pig Pen. I thought the flies were multiplying by the minute.
Why did I keep shoveling the disgusting dirt?
That’s what I kept asking myself.
The answer is simple – because of the hope of fresh organic, bountiful vegetables that beat anything purchased at a store. The hope of things to come.
Whenever there are unpleasant or difficult things in our lives, it helps to focus on the good that will result. When I was in college and the classes were hard and I was sleep deprived, I focused on getting my degree. When I was in labor with my girls, I focused on the sweet baby I would soon hold. When I start my workout and my muscles rebel, I focus on how I will feel at the end. As I shoveled foul smelling dirt, I focused on the fresh vegetables I would soon pick!
Hope deferred makes the heart sick
but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. ~ Proverbs 13:12
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer ~ Romans 12:12
My all time favorite ~and lifeline during some dark days…
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace
as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit ~ Romans 15:13
If you find yourself shoveling some chicken poop in your life, remember to focus on the hope of things to come. God is…the God of Hope!