Our youngest daughter and I love Kari Jobe. Her recent release is called "The Garden" and it got me thinking about the vegetable garden my dad has grown all my life. Recently, she and I have gone down to help my mom and dad as they are in their 80's.  We have helped with the weeding, cutting back the overgrowth and of course helped them harvesting their produce. 

Growing up, Dad used our garbage~ egg shells, old coffee grounds, with dead leaves layered on top to build a pile of rich loam in the corner of the backyard of my childhood home.

He called it his compost pile. 

In the fall it was layered and turned every few months and by springtime it had decomposed and he was ready to use it as fertilizer for his garden.

With a gardener’s soul, no food was ever wasted. Just like our heavenly father who can use our deepest messes to produce goodness in our lives. 

There was no fast food at our house. We ate what was put in front of us and were told to sit there until the last drop of succotash was eaten. Or, in our West Oak Lane home, thrown behind the old time vintage cast iron radiator.

In the early 70’s we moved to the suburbs outside of Philadelphia with a bona fide backyard filled with trees. Instead of the paved driveway of the back alleys behind our tree lined city twin home. We now had a place to run and climb trees and be kids. 

Dad went to work building a small garden plot by the side of the house to grow his own tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, eggplant, string beans and mint. Always with the mint because he enjoyed it in his sweet tea for the summer. Or, at least I did.

Sometimes, life throws us garbage in the form of loss, false friends, disappointments, dashed dreams, health and financial problems. But, I’m convinced that God has a plan and that he wastes nothing.

Just like my growing up years where winter soon turned into spring, the summer growth and fall harvest somehow produced good vegetables from Dad’s labor.

It’s a little harder to see on an electronic screen or in the eyes of our neighbors as we scurry around as life passes us by.

In this micro wave world, we can still see the eternal truth of the rewards of care by the light in our neighbor’s eyes when we drop off some food while they are going through a difficult time.

Or, take time to answer questions for a teenager who needs wisdom for future direction in his or her life.  Or it is captured in the smile of a young married as she shares about the adventures of being a newlywed and expecting her first child

While there are days where we see no rewards for our labor, it's then we need to take a closer look at the smaller yet real growth in our lives. 

It’s the family foundation that bring me back to a simpler time. And for this, I’m grateful to have learned about the truths of life from my dad's garden.