Summer’s daisies. Last spring, I felt the need for a flowerbed-full to welcome friends and neighbors.
Which is why I started digging in early May.
The plants were hearty, so their new homes needed to be roomy. A good eighteen inches wide and deep. Breaking up the heat-hardened soil would be no small task. But, old shovel in hand, I was determined. Maybe even a little excited about making space for transformation right outside my front door.
For now, tiny green buds were tucked inside long green leaves, waiting. Starting like a tightly closed fist, petals would soon loosen, white fingers stretching to reveal the yellow center. Countless hands would open, hopeful, towards the warm sky.
And so I began. Though it was strenuous work, the beads of my perspiration were mixed with anticipation of the beauty to come.
Finally, it was time for the final hole. The first layers of dirt came up easily, but as I dug deeper, the task became more difficult. Even when I balanced my entire body’s weight onto the shovel, rocking back and forth, I gained little more than an inch at a time.
Eventually, the scoop’s sharp edge was halted by something more solid than hard-packed, rain-deprived soil. I moved the shovel a bit and tried again, but with the same unyielding results.
Thinking I’d hit a tree root or a rock, I considered adding extra fertilizer, dropping the last plant into the almost-deep-enough hole, and hoping for the best. After all, I was ready to call it a day. But, not wanting to block the space for all those smiling daisies to take root, I decided to widen my hole and dig out the obstacle.
45 minutes later, I realized I wasn’t going to succeed. Even when I was finally able to wedge the blade of my shovel under the object, all that budged was the tool’s old wooden handle, which threatened to break under the strain of trying to leverage out whatever was below the surface.
Later that evening, my husband unearthed something unexpected: not a stone, but an unwieldy chunk of jagged-edged concrete—2 feet wide, 15 inches thick, and around 60 pounds—leftover, we guessed, from when the front patio was originally poured. It took both of us to heft it into the wheelbarrow for him to deliver it to its new home.
I put the last daisy into its hard-earned home, gave the flowerbed a generous shower from the hose, and called the job done, knowing the obstruction we’d removed would give our blossoms a better opportunity to thrive, to smile at us, to welcome visitors.
During a year where I’ve been invited to contemplate hope, called to cultivate it in my own heart, I’ve made an unexpected discovery:
That boulder-sized chunk my shovel hit last spring bears a striking resemblance to an obstruction that’s been buried in the depths of my own heart. And I think I’m being called to dig towards it, wedge my shovel under its rough edges, work it out of my soul’s garden.
More soon . . . . .