Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Vines (11/21/05)
TITLE: Ouch! That's Good Preachin'!
By Donna Haug
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“I know. I’ve been busy. Kingdom business, you know.” Saul reached down to pick a daisy, avoiding the direct gaze he knew his gardener, Emman Nuel, was sending his way. They had a very unique arrangement. There were only certain things that Emman would deal with in Saul’s garden without Saul’s direct supervision. Emman was the best gardener in the world. Yet, he insisted that the owner of any land he worked on should be intricately involved in the developing and caring of his own land. Saul appreciated so much the fact that Emman was willing to help him out, but he sure wished he would work without Saul always having to be there!
“Come over here, Saul. First I want to show you something I just know you’ll enjoy. Isn’t this the most exquisite flower you have ever seen? It has been growing over here in the corner where the mist from the waterfall constantly dampens the soil. I don’t know that I’ve seen this particular variety anywhere in the neighborhood. It is a true treasure.”
Saul bent over to admire the delicate purple petals and took a whiff of the heady aroma. “That is lovely, Emman! It’s a shame it’s hidden over here in the corner though. Could we not transplant it over there by the pathway so that anyone walking by could admire it?”
“We could do that, but then you would have to come by every day to water it, Saul. It requires lots of moisture.”
Saul’s feet shuffled a little as he turned away from the flower. He didn’t have time to be there every day! There were so many other pressing things on his schedule, things that just couldn’t wait while he came over to tend flowers!
“Can you show me the vineyard, Emman? How is it going?” Saul had been coming on a regular basis to tend his garden together with Emman until the palace social season had started. He had been assisting with the careful pruning and cleaning of the vineyard that spring. The trellis had been fixed up and the dainty tendrils of the vines had been starting to twine their way around the supporting poles and wires. It had been a lovely sight. But lately life had just gotten too busy. He hadn’t visited the garden in quite a while.
“Saul, I’m afraid you won’t be thrilled with that part of your garden. I’ll show you.” He led Saul down the path towards the rear of the garden. The vineyard was green all right. As a matter of fact, Saul couldn’t see through to the other side. The center section of the trellis had caved in under the weight of the untrimmed vines. Birds had been eating at the grapes, and the ground was littered with dead leaves and rotting fruit. The weeds had grown up so tall, they seemed to be choking the poor plants.
Anger and frustration welled up in Saul’s chest. How could Emman have allowed his vineyard to get into such a mess? He reached out to grab at a handful of weeds blocking his way and cried out. “Ouch! Man! Emman, what is going on here? The thistles have taken over.”
“Saul, you know our agreement. I am willing to make your garden the most beautiful, fruitful garden in the valley. But we had agreed that we would work together on his project. If you take the time to invest in your vineyard, you will have the most bountiful crop imaginable. But if you don’t take time out of your frenetic pursuit of business and pleasure to tend your garden, this will be the result. It doesn’t take much effort for thorns and thistles to take over. I have been waiting for you to come by and work with me.”
Tears rolled down my cheeks as I remembered my zeal when we had planted this vineyard. We had such lovely dreams. Through my own laziness and skewed priorities I had allowed my garden to become a sorry mess. “Emman, you’re right. I’m so sorry. Let’s get to work. Do you have an extra pair of gloves? These thorns kill!”
“…I took a long look and pondered what I saw; the fields preached me a sermon and I listened...”
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