This summer, our garden has been, as our son would describe with his new favorite word, “weird.”
I’m at least a little bit of a green thumb, so when our cilantro didn’t grow, basil refused to stop being eaten by bugs, and red onions turned out as large as marbles, I felt disheartened. Not the same (thank God), but a similar feeling to when you give and give to a newborn, and all they want to (and can) do is poop on you, keep you up at night, and eat the food your body is making for them. That’s been our summer garden- lots watering, tending, weeding, squatting, being covered in spider webs and aphids, and no fruit.
Until I got a different kind of fruit than I planned for when a pop of yellow burst forth from beside our stunted orange tree and still green tomato plants. A sunflower.
This sunflower that had grown from seed, threatened to wilt on too hot days and was being eaten by bugs had opened up. And to my delight, it wasn’t what I expected.
As I looked down into the face of the flower, I gazed upon one thousand (ish) petals. Not ten petals like the sunflowers I draw for my son with chalk in our backyard. At least one thousand.
And I was filled with gratitude. Gratitude for a God who cares to make something so simple and beautiful. Gratitude for the opportunity to really look at something that could be just as easily passed by on the roadside. Gratitude for faith that God who would care this much for one flower cares more for us, the ones made in God’s image (Matthew 6: 25-34).
This year’s summer garden has been weird, but has also been good. I was anticipating a certain kind of fruit and got another, perhaps one that I actually needed more. Gratitude for and revived belief in God who cares about the intricacies of my life down to the gift of giving me a moment to be filled with awe at a sunflower with one thousand (ish) petals.