Especially in the last couple of years, I have often daydreamed about having a bountiful garden full of all kinds of fruits, veggies, and herbs. One problem keeping me from turning this dream into a reality is the fact that I have no idea what I’m doing. The other problem is that while growing your own produce sounds like a real money saver, the prep work for this is not cheap. There is one other problem: I have about zero tolerance for outside work. I am super pale, so I get sunburned even if I put on several bottles of sunscreen a day. When I’m outside, every mosquito in a 500 mile radius finds me and feasts. Also, I have basically no upper arm strength. Having a toddler has increased my strength, but as most of you with an elementary education know, anything times zero equals zero.
After we bought our house, I was eager to get started turning it into everything my Pinterest-filled mind imagined. I began daydreaming about crisp white everything and photos all over every wall and an herb garden on the window sill and sipping coffee at the breakfast nook while our potential renters would marvel at my excellent interior design taste. “I thought white everything would give me a headache, but instead it feels like a breath of fresh air in every single room!” they would exclaim, while I would nod knowingly, dropping organic, paleo, homemade, heart-shaped marshmallows into their coffee and say, “Yes, that’s what all of the Pinterest articles said.”
So, once everything was finalized and we could begin our work, I gladly volunteered to help Blake while the guys were at Falls Creek. “So, are we going to go pick out paint colors?” I naively inquired.
I could tell that Blake was trying really hard not to laugh out loud at how precious I was. “Well, I think we are a little far out to be thinking about that. The first thing we need to worry about is the roof, and we really need to get all of that greenery cleared off of and around the house in case we are having to do any of the roof work ourselves.”
“Oh, okay. That should only take an afternoon, right?” I again mistakenly hoped.
“It will probably take a little longer than that.”
For two days, working from morning until evening in the hot June Oklahoma sun, we cleared off ivy from every nook and cranny we could reach, uprooted dead trees, sprayed poison ivy, and even discovered there was actually a sidewalk that went around the house that was completely covered by all of the underbrush that had grown as it sat vacant for two years.
However, pretty soon, we found out that under all that greenery that had gotten way out of hand, was a pretty good lookin’ house.
That one little bit we couldn’t reach drove us nuts. However, it died and fell off about a week later.
After two days of hard work and sunburned forearms like I have never experienced in my life, I had a little epiphany that I happily shared with Blake. "You know," I said, "I'm starting to see why part of Adam and Eve's perfect life in the garden included the hard work of reaping from the harvest of the garden. There's something about working hard and getting your hands dirty that is therapeutic."
"I think you're right," Blake said, "But we will see how long you feel that way, because we are going to be doing a lot of hard work on this house for a long time."
I'm getting a little ahead of the story, but here's a bit of a spoiler: there have been days where I have definitely not seen the hard work as therapy. However, I have found a lot of value in it: obviously, the immediate value of watching an ugly house transform into something so much more beautiful right in front of your eyes, but also the value of watching yourself get a little tougher, too. While the world is fallen and there is evidence of that all around us, by the grace of God there is also evidence of the stuff He has made us of, too. His grace and redemption give us strength we didn't know we have, strength He created us to have all along.
Whether or not in the middle of moving I will be able to get it written this week remains to be seen, but my next post will be about the first room we finished in the house. See you back here soon! Mi fixer-upper es su fixer-upper.