I’ve decided to combine my daily workout with gardening. And treasure hunting. In a couple of months, I’ll lace up my hiking boots and trek forth on what I like to call the Great Squash and Okra Hunt of 2019.
We planted our garden last week. It was a beautiful garden, with perfect rows of peas and pepper seeds, all snug in their new homes in the freshly-tilled soil. I stood at the edge of my patchwork paradise, admired my little carrot-n-tater nation, and hummed the theme from Veggie Tales. That night, I dreamed of fresh produce. There I was, in my quaint, country-girl overalls and perfect lipstick, pulling in a bounty harvest and piling it high in my oversized wicker basket as Superman cheered and clapped like an Olympic event. Pioneer Woman, eat your heart out.
Then I opened my eyes and realized that wasn’t cheering; it was thunder. And that wasn’t clapping; it was hail, banging against the window. And I realized, we should have built a dam around our little orchard. We hadn’t even built a fence.
The next day, there was no garden. In its place, a wasteland of interconnected gauges and grooves trickled down our hill and into the great beyond. If a cucumber vine appears in the middle of your chrysanthemums, no need to thank me. Add a few croutons and enjoy your salad.
I looked at my little plot of earth and envisioned crispy oven-baked okra, coated in olive oil and sprinkled with sea-salt. Gone.
Pots of perfectly-seasoned peas, bits of pepper and onion floating to the top. Gone.
All my hopes and dreams for a healthy menu.
Depressing, isn’t it?
When I was 20, my life-map looked like that perfectly-plotted garden. The marriage would go here. The children, here. The beautiful home and inspiring career, here and here. Then life showed up with its storms and hailstones and sent those plans in all directions, never to be seen again.
Though my dreams haven’t played out the way I once thought they would, I’m okay. Better than okay. I think my years have developed into something far more interesting than that original script ordained. After all, who wants to watch a movie where everything goes well, where all works out as planned, where the character has no conflict? I mean, really. What a snoozer.
Instead of predictable, I’ve had whimsical. Instead of easy, I’ve had adventuresome. Instead of a walk in the park, I’ve had a trek through the jungle. I’ve battled boa constrictors, grappled with gorillas, and tangled with tigers.
And I’ve won.
All because God had designed a better, more exciting script for my life than I’d written for myself.
While I am disappointed that my garden won’t turn out as planned, I’m also a little bit excited. Where will the okra end up? When will a jalapeno hop out at me? Instead of overalls, I’ll wear camouflage; instead of a basket, I’ll carry a scythe. I’ll be rugged and wild, in an action-adventure thriller that’s sure to be a box-office hit.
Or maybe just a kitchen success. Either way, it’s good.
“In their hearts human beings plan their lives, but the Lord decides where their steps will take them,” Proverbs 16:9.