Friday, July 9, 2010

In the Cool of the Day

The cool of a summer morning in my garden beckons me to work, work, work. As the sun comes up and the temperature rises, I move closer and closer to the shade of the porch and on into the cool of my home before the heat of the midday sun. The warming air feels good for a while, but some days the heat becomes unrelenting as the mercury climbs toward 90 degrees and above. And I run inside away from the heat realizing I am letting some things go in my garden. I become a fair weather friend, saying, "Ok, you're on your own now. I'm out of here. I have planted, fertilized, watered, and watched you. I cannot protect you from this heat. I'm sorry and good luck."
I make some notes as to what plants seem to do better in the extreme heat. Plumbago, my favorite blue annual from a more tropical region, is a perfect example of surviving. Maybe I will plant more of those next year in place of the petunias and impatiens who are screaming for relief. Their bright, happy colors have faded. I suppose they are a lot like people - they become somewhat pale and their veins recede further into their body when under stress. Preservation. Survival.
What makes us run when life get uncomfortable? Little things like the stacks of paperwork that needs our attention, or the laundry that needs folding, or the daily discipline of personal skills that need practice. Maybe it is simply writing a letter or calling a friend who needs our attention. We feel overwhelmed, overcommitted, and we run away from the heat of our responsibilities to find a cool place to find relief.
But finding what works to withstand the heat is a better option. Daily inspection of the garden does wonders for helping those struggling plants to survive. A little more water here and there, possibly some pruning or making a note to move something when the season changes will save the garden when the heat is unbearable. It applies to our lives as well. A quick, friendly call made, the paperwork sorted, work tasks and skills sharpened - whatever they may be - make for a meaningful day.
I ran into a friend the other day who is 86. She energetically told me that she took inventory at the end of every day as to what she had accomplished for good. She said she went over it with the Lord and allowed him to look over it as well and make recommendations or suggestions as to how tomorrow could be better. What if every day we began with the end in mind? What if we faced honestly the accountability of every part of our day? Would we be running or pruning? Watering or throwing out what was lost due to our own neglect? And at the end of the day, would we be willing to ask for and seek guidance from our Creator? Scripture says that God looked for Adam and Eve "in the cool of the day". He looks for us as well.