Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Garden (09/07/06)
TITLE: Gardening Hearts
By Kaylee Blake
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She trudged up the porch steps and rang the doorbell twice. The door swung open and Brittany immediately painted on a bright sunshiny smile. “Hello, you must be Mrs. Trug. It’s so nice to meet you. I’m Brittany Smigdel, Lydia’s science project partner. Is she at home? Can I speak with her please?”
Tiffany Trug smiled politely, not fooled for a minute by the teen’s happy façade. “It’s nice to meet you, too, Brittany. Lydia said you might stop by today. If you go down that hall and out the back door, you’ll find her in her garden.”
“Thank-you.” Brittany’s new red heels clicked smartly on the wooden floor as she walked down the hall and threw open the sliding glass door.
“The garden…” Brittany muttered. Contrary to what she assumed would be a scraggly little vegetable patch, she found instead a lush back-yard paradise. Vibrant colors, lush flowers, sweet smells, and singing birds dominated the whole yard. “There’s no way I can find Lydia in this!”
“Brittany? Is that you? I’m under here!” a muffled voice called out.
“Under…where?” Brittany stammered, turning around in circles to see where the voice was coming from.
The lilac bush began to shake and out poked a head full of red hair and a face dotted with merry freckles. “Hey, it’s me!” Lydia crawled out and slowly stretched to her full height of five foot three, dusting black soil from her overalls. “I’d shake hands with you, but…” Lydia sheepishly held out her dirty hands, one of which held pruning shears.
“Yeah, please don’t.” Brittany agreed quickly. “What were you doing under there anyway?”
“I was sniping away the dead branches of my lilac bush.” Lydia smiled slyly and offered Brittany the pruning shears. “Ya wanna help?”
“I want to, but my new manicure is telling me ‘no’.” Do you actually enjoy getting your hands all yucky and dirty like that?”
“It doesn’t really bother me. If dirty hands is the only price to be able to witness the beauty of God’s creation unfold before my very eyes…then, yeah, I guess you could say I enjoy it. Gardening is fun.”
“No; ‘fun’ is going to the mall and buying a new wardrobe with your daddy’s credit card.”
Lydia smiled. “Well, I suppose we have different ideas of what’s fun.”
Brittany nodded. “Uh-huh. Like you think it’s fun to go around preaching to everyone. Losers like, Matt Damon, for example. Do you really think that your God could change him?” If Brittany thought this would anger Lydia, then she was to be sorely disappointed.
Lydia picked up a seed and held it in the palm of her hand. “Brittany, if I were to plant this seed, my mom were to water it, my brother weeded around it, and my dad picked it, after it was grown, who could say this flower was theirs?”
Brittany tossed her blond hair over her shoulder impatiently. “No one I guess, but what does that have anything to do with the question-”
“Hearts are like gardens. God used me to plant the seed of salvation—news of Jesus’ sacrifice—in Matt’s heart. Now I many never see the fruit of that labor. But that’s OK. Sometimes it takes other people to water and weed and harvest.”
In a strange way, Lydia made sense. But Brittany wasn’t about to let her know that. “Now look here, sweetheart. I came here to talk about the stinking science project, not to be preached at. Here’s how it is: I suck at science so if you want to get a good grade and survive to see your next birthday, then you’ll do all the work. We are not friends and when we’re at school, I still don’t even know you exist. Got it?” She didn’t wait for an answer. “Good. Toodles, dahling.”
Lydia sighed as she watched Brittany struggle to walk away, the soft earth sucking at her pointy heels. Tilting her head back to stare at the cloudless blue sky, Lydia spoke aloud, “Well, God. I tried to plant. It may not have gone deep enough and it’s sure gonna take a lot of watering and weeding, but, at least I planted it.”
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