Six-year-old Kevin watched his father with interest. In the small garden outside their home a small patch of ground had been uncovered, and Kevin’s father was busy with a hoe piling dirt around plants.
Kevin pulled on his mother’s apron. “What kind of sounds do plants make?” His hands moved quickly as he signed. As a six year old, he was full of questions, and his command of signing language was stronger than the oral language of most children his age.
Kevin’s mother followed his hand movements. She had been to signing classes since Kevin was one year old; it was on his first birthday that the doctors had determined for sure that Kevin would never hear. “Plants don’t have sounds. Dogs, cats, and people make sounds. What sound does a dog make?” Her signing was slower, but she had worked hard on ASL phraseology.
Kevin printed on a pad. “Bow Wow.”
His mother hugged him. “That’s right Kevin.” She was amazed that he had picked up printing words and reading so quickly.
“Plants are like God?” Kevin wiggled loose from his mother and pointed at the new garden.
“Yes and no,” she signed. “You can hear God just a well as I do.” I hope this isn’t too abstract to him. “God speaks to our heart.”
Kevin giggled. “Do the plants speak to your heart?”
His mother was struggling with the theological concept and how to articulate it with signing. “Plants don’t speak to humans, except to show us their beauty, which makes us feel good.”
Kevin looked out at the tomato plants being staked to the ground. “Then plants speak to your heart like God?”
“You’re something, all these questions.” Maybe if I stall his father can answer the questions. “Well, yes, I think God probably likes the plants as much as we do. Therefore He makes them grow to please both Him and us.”
A few weeks later Kevin’s mother looked out the window to see Kevin standing next to a shoot of corn and signing. She pulled off her apron and went out the back door. So she would not surprise her son, she made a wide swoop of the yard in order that he would see her approach. “Are the plants talking to you?” She teased.
“Yes, mother, I have been telling them to grow. And see, they are growing.”
“Well, okay, many people talk to plants. Do you think the corn heard you?”
“No, mother, corn can’t hear. All of the garden is like me. So, I have been talking to it my way. God sees everything, and he can tell the corn what I said.”
“Are you sure you are six years old?”
Kevin laughed with his mother. “I have talked to all this corn, and the tomatoes. I think God likes things that don’t make noise, don’t you?”
“You probably have a point; between you and God, I imagine everything will grow just fine.” I see a meeting with the pastor coming soon.
Kevin’s father tended the garden almost every evening, often with Kevin following behind urging the plants onward. And nearly every night, Kevin’s mother stood by the window wiping tears from her eyes. Oh, Jesus, in the silence of his life, Kevin has spoken loudest to this garden and it has grown, oh, thank you Lord.
Late one August evening Kevin walked proudly into the house carrying ears of sweet corn. He set the corn on a chair and then turned to his mother. “See, the garden is speaking – I think God heard me.”
“So, do I Kevin, so do I.”
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