Perhaps there was something prophetic in the fact that my parents named me “Dawn”, since clearly I am not a night person. Unlike my husband, Bob, and our eldest daughter, Jessica, both of whom are summarily nocturnal, I tend to rise with the sun and start winding down at dusk (if not before). This fact was recently re-confirmed when I attempted to stay up at night waiting for Jessie availability to video-chat regarding plans and arrangements for her upcoming wedding. However, there was one important glitch concerning our e-date: she lives in California and we are in Missouri, which is a two-hour time differential not in my favor.
Even though I downed yet another cup of black tea late in the evening, and watched mindless television, (since reading at night rapidly puts me to sleep), finally my brain and body reneged on our plans. After texting Jessie my apologies and need for a rain check, my head hit the pillow. Unfortunately, I had unsettling dreams—was it the TV, the extra caffeine, or just being off-schedule? Either way, I didn’t pull myself out of the sack until after 7AM in the morning, which was definitely sleeping in for me, and being the morning person that I am, meant that a fair chunk of the best time of the day was already gone!
So there I was, then, sitting at my desk, just too tired to arrange myself on the patio as usual. The bike ride I had planned with my husband for later that day was tanked also. In fact, after a lovely and productive time the day before, I was having some motivational difficulty as this particular one wore on.
Jessie and Bob are night owls…I love to see the sunrise. Jessie and Bob love to celebrate her home visits with late night chats and cheesy monster movies…I love to serve them surprise breakfast in their beds the next morning. My eldest daughter and her father can discuss a topic in great detail to its utter encyclopedic conclusion…I tend to prefer synopsis, just the crib-note version, if you don’t mind.
There are many ways in which our differences can be considerably inconvenient, even downright irritating—that’s a given. Several times when my husband has (finally) come to bed, he inadvertently wakes me up, but rather than quietly getting under the covers, it seems like his brain tells him, “Oh, good, she’s awake!” and he proceeds to pontificate on some deep personal revelation or travail. Of course, loving him as I do, my brain says, “You need to listen; he needs you,” like I should somehow allow myself to be drawn into this conversation lest he be left alone with his thoughts. My body, on the other hand, disagrees. Naturally, if I listen to my brain rather than my body, chances are by the time the conversation is over and we are both lying in bed, and I be wide awake as I hear my Beloved breathing sonorously and peacefully next to me…sound asleep. And my work alarm goes off at 5AM.
So, in this sense really, where is Jessie when I need her?
As I write this, I am sitting, as usual, on the patio, having had an unusually warm and early spring. It is only late March, and the trees are already leafing, the daffodils are already done, and I have plants poking through the soil by several inches. My gardening friends and I are holding our breath hoping the frost won’t reappear! I’m realizing yet again the marvel of my garden’s diversity, as I’m rethinking some of my planting designs (using the term “design” loosely). I might put the tomatoes in a different place where they will get more sun, and enjoy deeper more fertile soil. I might plant more salad greens where the tomatoes were last year—I want to try the Swiss Chard somebody suggested. Not sure if the new hostas got enough shade last year so I may need to revisit that plan.
I am re-reading a beautiful book by Linda Dillow entitled Calm My Anxious Heart, and I’m in the chapter on being content to be me. Mrs. Dillow comments wisely regarding a favorite Old Testament song, Psalm 139. In this Psalm, King David was expounding on the uniqueness of our birth and plan for our lives, among many other fascinating truths regarding God’s design and intent for putting me here, in this body, this place, and this time.
Just as I am thankful that God created so many different plants for all types of gardens, whether for sun or shade, whether for cool, spring temperatures or hot mid-summer Missouri Julys, so also He has wisely and lovingly provided a massive diversity of traits in people.
- Some of us are up front, on stage, and in the spotlight; some are hidden in seeming obscurity. One is tempted to covet the other’s quiet and anonymity, while the other may pine away for what she perceives is a lack of appreciation.
- Some of us are bold and outspoken, completely un-intimidated by what others may think or feel; their counterpart is diplomatic, a person of few words, and sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of other. The first tends to regret speaking rashly, while the second longs for the courage to speak out more.
- Some of us have physical disabilities that prevent us from doing the things that come so easily to others—they feel they are missing out on so much fun! Others of us have perfectly functioning bodies, but struggle daily with emotionally or mentally crippling disorders such that, to be rid of, we would gladly give our right arm.
The grass is always greener…I know it’s not an original thought, but still one that’s all too true. Like our garden plants, God makes His people all different to fit us into His grand design. In one of his letters to the early church at Corinth, Paul writes that we are to no longer look at people from a worldly point of view, but from God’s point of view. Regardless of whatever “defect” at which the rest of society points their finger in regards to someone’s personality or property, or their body, or their bank account, God sees them differently, and His opinion is really the only one that counts.
So also am I to see myself. Paul encourages the church at Corinth to “lead the life which the Lord has allotted and imparted to him and to which God has invited and summoned him.” (2) We can rightfully infer from that truth that God has “allotted, imparted, invited and summoned” us all to a life of service in Jesus within our circumstances, our personalities, and even with what the rest of society might think of as defects. After all, God is the One Who is capable of turning our “defects” into delights.
The NCAA basketball tournament is in full swing, and March Madness has once again infected my husband. I wonder what time he’ll be to bed tonight? No matter. The garden will still be here tomorrow when the sun comes up, and so will I.
(Excerpt from God Loves Gardens by Dawn Jones)
- 2 Corinthians 5:16
- 1 Corinthians 7:17 (Amplified)