Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: IN-LAWS (07/11/19)
TITLE: A Clean Garden
By Debra Hindman
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Katie liked the look of her green floral gloved hands moving quickly through the moist soil she had diligently watered in the early morning sunshine in preparation for her evening weeding. She glanced over the short redwood fence as the evening sun gave its last shimmering sparkle to the lake just a few feet from Aunt Katherine’s patio garden, as she dug and pulled the rooted intruders from around the brilliant red zinnias.
Katie watched for ants, as she worked in the earth. The welt on her hand was sore after trying to weed without gloves the day before. Covered properly for her work now, she didn’t fear the stinging bites of the invaders, and looked up frequently, hoping to see a wandering alligator climbing gingerly up and over the berm that was made to discourage them from reaching the lake’s luscious green bank. Soon, a young gator sought to sun himself on the grass, and maneuvered over a warn place in the berm. Relating to the awkwardly low gator legs climbing over the clump of tough grass, Katie rehearsed the berms she had to climb in her own life, to reach her career goals. She had left her dream job, working at her church full time, because she couldn’t agree with how her leader managed people. It was more control than management. The enemy had found an opening into her life’s garden, and when she prayed for Light, it was a command to, “go!” There was no remedy for the negative control after a year of praying and seeking Truth. When grace seemed to not work, Katie realized obedience was better than sacrificing her own well-being, and she repented that she had not moved on the command sooner, or that she had begun the job in the first place. How had she missed hearing God?
While minding the gator’s movements, Katie’s thoughts wandered to her Uncle-in-law George, still at the kitchen sink as he washed dinner dishes while her Aunt Clare dried them. No one could wash dishes as well as George, and he would be the first to tell you. Katie likened George’s in-law status by marriage to his “in law” status as a man, as well. He often indicated he walked “in the law.” George “always-toeing-the-mark,” she named him. His pride, over the years, had made her weary of law. She had much preferred the grace and love that Uncle Matt walked in, Aunt Katherine’s husband and Katie’s “uncle-in-Love.” Matt was laughing and talking as he rested in the bright red patio chair that matched the zinnias, while sitting near family friend, Maddie.
Now there were two opposites: Uncle George and Uncle Matt. Matt followed his heart. Katie had heard that he was paying Maddie’s cell phone bill, and she knew Maddie had money sent to her every month from a wealthy relative and didn’t have to work. Uncle Matt worked hard for his money. Maddie whined about never having enough, so her uncle had taken the burden of paying her phone bill this past year. Uncle George often revealed his thoughts that her Uncle Matt was a bit of an outlaw with his big black cowboy hat he wore everywhere, and his disdain for following rules. Rules constricted Matt’s big loving heart. She saw how he often gave too much time and money to others, and wasn’t able to finish some of his own goals.
There is a balance between grace and law, Katie continued to pause in her work and muse, then realizing if she didn’t give herself more fully to her weeding, she would never finish her own goal of leaving a clean beautiful garden before nightfall.
The solar lights brightened the patio as Katie dug up the last stubborn weed and shook the dirt from her gloves. Shimmering water from the garden hose spilled over her hands, as she readied to go home. Saying their goodbyes at the door, both uncles fighting over who got a hug first, Katie laughed as she pulled them all together for a group hug, both were rich in love for her.
Katie, thankful for her family even with their very different motivations, began to sing as she walked to her sporty gold SUV, looking forward to a time of worship on her drive home, and in the morning sun, she planned to plant seeds in the soil of her own freshly cultivated garden.
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