Why, you may wonder, has Rachel posted a picture of four pots of dirt on her blog?
Ah, but you just think those are four pots of dirt. The truth is something much greater. Those four pots are an herb garden. They are glorious and green. They are healing for headaches and upset stomachs; they are salve to sore throats and aching lungs.
I forget that at times, and then I feel silly for lugging those four pots out into the sun so my herb garden can thrive, and for watering them every night and sometimes praying that my unproven thumb will prove green. But I’m right. There’s magic in that dirt.
Have you ever heard a song that melted you or carried you away to some verdant, misty paradise? The song “Perfect Day” does that to me. Every note, every instrument, every word reaches deep into my heart and calls forth a response.
The other day I was typing and I heard my little sisters playing outside my bedroom door. In their story, Keturah was a fairy who sang instead of talking. She sang her whole story: where she had come from, why she had come, what she was searching for. It was rambling and warbly and a little off-key. But there was a seed in it. A storytelling seed, a musical seed, a calling-f0rth-response seed. Someday she’s going to reach people with music.
Recently I sat down and faced a blank page. Pushing aside thoughts that I was wasting my time and couldn’t possibly pull it off this time, I typed some letters. But they wouldn’t stay letters, no, as letters will, they turned themselves into sentences and formed a paragraph. This is what they said:
It was raining in the fields. Cold rain. Taerith stretched out his arms and raised his head, letting the rain hit his face and run down the bridge of his nose. He opened his mouth and gulped convulsively as the liquid trickled into his throat. It was good of the sky, he thought, to give him water. He had been at work with the other men, harvesting late corn, but the rain had put an end to the work for now. The fields were nearly bare anyway. Water puddled around his boots–held together now with string and patches–and turned the trampled furrows to mud.
There’s magic in those little ink blots. They’re not just letters now, they’re a story–a story of a man who is sent away from his family and forms a new one by laying down his freedom to serve a slave girl and a persecuted queen, to befriend an imprisoned priest and fight next to a half-blood warrior. (You can read what there is of that story here.)
Beginnings. Rarely do they resemble what we know, by faith and a sort of passionate instinct, they will become. Off-key ditties don’t sound like symphonies. Jumbles of a’s and b’s and h’s don’t look like literature. Children don’t look like mothers and fathers, prophets and servants, yet there’s magic in them. God put something in them that will grow if it’s tended, into something green and tall and beautiful.
Keep hauling your pots into the sun, watering the dirt, writing those words, playing that piano. Keep investing in the lives of your children and grandchildren and brothers and sisters and friends. What you sow, you shall reap.