I love gardening. I don't know that I have always enjoyed it, but when I was at Purdue I worked in the greenhouses, and when I moved to Maine I worked for a landscaping company. I do know that I have loved it since then. And while gardening now is not nearly as fun as it was in Maine (reasons for which I am composing an entirely different blog post, for a later time) it is still just as satisfying.
The sun was shining brightly, the wind was blowing but was neither cold nor ferocious, so Hallie was willing to go outside with me and try working in the yard - where work was desperately needed. So, sunscreen donned, we began our work. As I was out there, sweating, grunting, breaking my back grabbing at weeds (why did the previous owners plant so much corn, in so many random places throughout the yard?) I couldn't help but feel a simple but profound joy bubbling up inside me, so much so that I wanted to just bust out and laugh.
Why is that, I wondered? What is it about intensely hard physical labor that makes me feel so good? I thought at first that it was unexplainable. One of those mysteries of life, that we have no explanation for, but that we know to be true. But as I continued working, and thinking about it more, I decided to try and explain it. This is the best I can do.
First of all, the fact that I am out in my yard working so hard is proof of the fact that I have a strong body capable of work. What a blessing! Not only do I have a body that is strong, but it is healthy too. What good to me is a strong body if it is unhealthy? So I am grateful for my health, and recognize the blessing that that is. I have a healthy body because I have good food to eat - and in this world that we live in, not everyone can say that, so how can I not rejoice? The good food that I have to eat is provided to me by my loving husband, and the hard work that he does every day so that we can enjoy the fruits of his labors. How wonderful to have a loving husband who also works hard!
Obviously I didn't have to go out in my yard and work hard to recognize that I had all of these blessings in my life, but how profoundly I felt them when I was actively taking advantage of what they meant! Husband provides food, food makes health, health makes strong, I am strong so I can pull weeds!!
Another reason I could not help but have a silly smile on my face as I worked to beautify my little plot of this earth is what everyone feels when they go outside in this season: the joy of spring. No matter how discouraged, how irritated, or how upset I am, I cannot help but see the message of the little sprouts shooting out of the cold dark ground. "Don't give up! Keep working, keep hoping, keep growing! Look at us - we did it! We are out here, basking in the sun and you can too. Keep going, keep going, keep going."
And now, with a heart full of happiness, I am going back out to my yard.