Thursday, May 21, 2009

It was the eve of the big day – tomorrow was Wednesday, and our family was hosting a one-of-a-kind appreciation party in honor of Mrs Stackfleth, our daughter's Kindergarten teacher this year (she was also our son’s Kindergarten teacher last year). We considered it a special privileged to enjoy her vital role in our children’s and our family’s life during such important season. We valued her calm wisdom, her kind affection towards all of us and her miraculous ability to reformat the gray globby mass inside our children's heads into an amazingly responsive factory of reasoning, ideas, artistic expression, engineering design and more. All this was taking place as we weathered many real-life storms together and, not to be neglected, celebrated numerous victories. As I was tucking Caleb in, he said with a sigh,

Mom, I can’t wait until tomorrow, I am so excited.

I pulled the cover over him and thought of something,

I know… I am happy too. But I wanted to ask you something….Who would you rather have come for a visit, Mrs. Stackfleth or President Obama?

His eyes popped wide open sparkling with wondrous disbelief,

The Obamas are coming?!!!! Are they really coming?!!!

I laughed at his naivety and reckless trust in his mother’s social skills and influence without boundaries and shook my head,

No, the Obamas are not coming… I was just wondering who would you rather have for a visit, Mrs. Stackfleth or the President.

He sat in his bed and deliberated in his head for a moment, and then cautiously replied,

If it was Thursday, I would like the Obama family to come for a visit, but on Wednesday, I would rather have Mrs. Stackfleth.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Over the years of gardening I’ve learned to use some cool tools, like gasoline powered pruning shears, or self-propelled lawn-mower, or weed-whacker, or good, old shovel - the old-fashioned classics which my temperament turned quite infamous due to its outside-the-garden use. My recent favorite, an unlikely visitor from the silverware drawer – a double-edged knife has been of tremendous help, alongside its more traditional garage-housed friends, to subdue the piece of land allotted to my care and conform it to the design which for longest time existed only in my own head.

In addition to this, I had to learn to protect my body against the occupational hazards of gardening – I lather every inch of my exposed skin with SPF 45 or above sunscreen against the relentless Florida sun. I also discovered the hard way a necessity of wearing protective garments – a long-sleeve shirt, long pants, knee-high 100% cotton socks, sturdy tennis shoes, a baseball hat with large shade and last, but certainly not the least, a pair of heavy-duty rubber gloves - even in blistering Florida summer. There is no question in anybody’s mind about my intentions when they see me dressed like this. Clearly, my concern here is not a fashion statement. I need to look like this, because I enjoy gardening, but over the years my body has developed allergies to select plants, sweat, dirt, fire-ant and various insect bites that made each of my extremities swell five-times its normal size at least once in the course of my on-job training as a gardener.

But, even with all the amazing tools at my disposal, and the protection I wear around like a NASA astronaut, I found that some weeds can only be rooted out of my garden one at a time, on my knees, with my bare hands as the dirt rushes under my fingernails while they sink below the surface and grab hold of the invisible root. Gardening is a dirty job and its joys are reserved for those who don’t mind being on their knees and getting dirty.

Is this what Jesus meant when He said, This kind goes only by prayer…and more prayer?