This day I rush home. This day I tear off the Sunday best that paints me cold and distant with all things fake, and shallow. All things that I loathe…. and all things that I am.
Something is going on in my soul, like a brewing storm. Something dark. deep. unknown. And I fall to my knees.
I’ve been in this place before. I’ve heard these distant rumblings and felt the churning winds, and I’ve been caught in the deluge – unaware- too many times to count. But not this time.
Not. This. Time.
This time I step into the comfort of my grungiest jeans and sweatshirt – like best of friends – and I rush outside to the garden, the dirt, and I dig deep.
I’m not looking to plant seeds or pull weeds or pretend I care about anything except the in-the-thick dirt of earth jammed deep beneath my nails, immersed to my elbows, and wiped in the sweat of my brow. No gloves. No tools. No caution. This is what I need. This is what my heart demands: plunge deep into this fallow ground, churn this earth too long neglected, bring it to the surface, remove the rocks … and feel. Just simply feel.
This is what I know.
But in seasons past I didn’t know. I’d face these seasons of the heart and to try to fix things by burying all the ugly. Like this garden that now lay dormant in my hand, I’d layer on the manure, heap heavy the compost, sprinkle light the peat moss and call it good. Sure, I’d dig a little here, stir a little there. But mixing deep and mixing true is hard work and makes pale the black, rich soil so desirous. “Why dilute all this goodness with such poor soil?” I wondered. “Why waste my time with what lies beneath?” I mused. “I’m only worried about the top six inches anyway, right?’ I argued. “The rains will come, the goodness will seep down. It won’t matter.” I decided. “It won’t matter.”
But it turns out that it does matters. Turns out Life can be burned in shallow, layered goodness. Turns out, like me, new roots can wither in the midst of all things holy – silent and desperate for all things real. Like me, they cry out for all of Life’s messy fullness. ALL of it.
All of humanity that cries out for Truth to burst through the layers and light the fire that has iced within.
All of Truth that stands immovable- unafraid of dirt, or ugliness or the messiness of Life.
All of Life that finds its beginning in dark, hidden places, planted firm and deep and holy in this sinner’s heart
So today I dig deep. I thrust in my hands. I crush the clods, finger the humus, I work gently together the good with the bad. I turn Life on its end and make room for Hope again. Ugly churns with Beautiful. Anger tosses with Forgiveness. Holiness makes peace with all things frail…. Mixed together. Mixed deep. Mixed True.
Life is messy. Life is holy. We live and we thrive and we are healed when we make room for both.
Today I dig deep.
Today I make ready for rain.