It seemed I had been weeding for hours.
Maybe I had?
The backs of my arms were warm from the morning sun and my shoulders were bent permanently, or so it felt. Simon pulled me from the garden to show me the maze he made in the tall field grasses. Loops and circles of patted down trail weeds leaving the walls high to his shoulders, camouflaging his six year old self.
“Come on in, Mom!” His excited invitation opening my heart to life in his shoes, how could I deny him?
I’ll admit, my first thought was, what about ticks? Cringing slightly I followed his quick steps and listened to his explanation of each “room” he’d made. Step after step I slowly forgot my silly fear and just promised myself I’d check closely my body later.
It smelled like a time warp into the world I grew up in. The fields I trampled down, fearless and free had the same scent, the same sway from the wind, the same sharp grass blade and fluffy wheat head crumbly in my hands and tossed away by the breeze. For a few minutes the day felt warm and welcoming, my work unfinished could remain that way with no real harm done.
The days are spinning quicker than ever with just about everyone mentioning how they can’t recall if it’s a Tuesday or a Saturday. Without many (or any) real stakes in the week it can be hard to pin down the days gone by and the ones still to come.
So I grip on to the tall field grass a little longer and follow the steps of an adventurous boy marking the day as one to remember. I will not forget.
Back at my work in the garden I pray with my head down, eyes staring at the long rows of potatoes and the hundreds of weeds trying to reclaim what once was theirs. It’s typically quiet in the early morning hours, only the Red-winged blackbirds buzz-tweet on the power line overhead.
“My people” enter my mind as I shuffle on inch by inch plucking the uninvited grass and milkweed from the hills of potato plants.
“She needs to see you clearer Lord...”
“How can I reach that heart?”
“Help him to lean on you, Lord.”
“Is there a need I’m missing?”
Prayers for the people I rub shoulders with, the ones that eat around the same table and squeeze from the same toothpaste as me.
Prayers for the people living halfway around the globe contending with a virus that's taken food from tables and held passports from the pockets of their loved ones when both nourishments are needed to live.
Prayers for the people on the list that grows down the lined paper slipped into the cover of my journal, the ones I know little about but that they are human and so am I.
Each one a different prayer, each one the same need. Jesus.
And as softly as the wind over the meadow grass the Holy Spirit whispers, I’m the one who makes the flowers grow, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
A familiar verse echoing in my mind as a fresh reminder that it’s only through Jesus any of these sweet ones will come to God. It’s His call they will answer. His voice they will hear.
No perfect curriculum or system will usher them in, no research on my part to best win their heart for Christ can bait the hook. Though my duty is and always will be to love and serve, lead and pray over, correct and disciple those under my care and beyond. It is ultimately His call to them that they will answer.
And those days spent following the foot stomped trails of shirtless boys with backs sun-brown and smooth are worth so much in the Kingdom.
So when my tangled up thoughts rush me into a frantic way to draw them closer to him, I remember His call is the one they will answer to, only by Jesus will they enter in. No strategy of mine could take the place of His invitation to turn and run into His arms.
"My life passes as swiftly as the evening shadows. I am withering away like grass." Psalm 102:11