Love grows here

And with the planting of one tiny little seed, the world changes.

I was probably around the age of six or seven when I first planted a garden. Mama got really into organic growing and grinding that year–growing vegetables, grinding wheat. Trying out new homeopathic remedies from the Orbit Health Food Store. She says that I didn’t have a chance to be any different than what I am–an earthy, free-spirited lover of all things natural and wild.

We planted a few months before my birthday party. I remember very distinctly because I took  a banana pepper from the garden and squirted it into my eye right before the party guests arrived. Daddy got on to me, but how much can you really chastise a kid who runs in screaming because of pepper juice? There I was, half blind, saying hello to everyone–asking them if they wanted to play in the green, turtle sandbox that had been my birthday present. I’m sure I was a sight to look at.

The bright, smiling sunflowers were a good deal out of the ground that afternoon when Blaine Holley kissed me and I ran away crying. I was scrawny–short–small. Poor boy, not only would I not say goodbye to him–but my best friend at the time happened to be a tough, tom-boyish defender. I’m pretty sure he ended up with some bruises from where she pinned him to the ground. Prior to the party, in those few short months before, Blaine had been there with his sister and mother. Digging up dirt to lay down what would one day become life and growth–our hands and bony knee caps covered in fertilizer I kept calling “cow poop.” Our mothers, bent over in a labor of love–planting seeds to one day feed our families. I remember the sky being cloudless–the sun shining warmly on our blonde crowns–and feeling even then, barefoot in the tree tops and at such a young age, that the world was filled with a greater good.

Years later, the weather was similar. The sun and brightness of the day made life seem a little easier than what it was as I sat with a friend in front of a large, plastic pot filled with soil. She did not want to talk. Not about the pain or the chaos or the fear. Instead, we sank our hands into the soil and planted hope and truth and love. We celebrated an anniversary of redemption. Planted an alter of praise to the one whose hands would one day cause those seeds to grow and fill the apartment with the warm, sweet smell of basil.

With the planting of a seed, hope was planted.

On my desk sits a ceramic vase–painted carefully by Daddy–five little flowers roughly drawn on the side in different colors. Five of us. Five of them. On it, he wrote, “love grows here.” Inside sits an unopened package of basil seedlings. A gift from a friend. And now, it is time to plant. Now, while I sit with two baby girls whose daddy has been diagnosed with leukemia. Now, as they coo and laugh at a butterfly that flies by. Now, as I fight off the temptation to feel out of place or discontent or worried. Now, on this sunshine filled, blue sky day.

With the planting of one tiny little seed, the world changes.

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