I have a massive, gigantic, huge, praise report: we are officially eating our own greens again!
My amazing husband set about building garden beds (by literally sawing down tree branches and piling them into garden beds because lumber is expensive) as soon as we moved on to this property, adding and fixing the soil, clearing brush and tilling the soil to plant corn, picking out and ordering seeds and now every night I can go and pick fresh kale, chard, mustard greens, arugula and green beans. It brings me back to when I first moved here and learned to garden, and when God began to make His presence known to me.
Six years ago when I first got to Hawaii I lived on a property with a huge organic garden that I had mostly planted and tended as work-trade for my rent. Each evening as I looked down at a plate heavy with greens and locally foraged avocado and breadfruit, I was so full of gratitude to a Deity who’s existence I had been denying for years that my heart hurt. I would burst out declarations of gratitude and thanks that the people around me enthusiastically echoed, but aimed at mother nature or the universe or whatever New Age concept they had personally used in lieu of the God of the Bible. My gratitude was overwhelming but I felt a crippling inability to express it properly.
And so began pondering the existence of the One who had created the system that nourished me. I moved to Hawaii to learn to garden, which was a desire that had been born out of learning to cook and feeling the depressing gap between myself and the source of my food. I spent my whole life in a city where the amount of resources it took to support my lifestyle always weighed on me. I wanted to get away and close that gap, and so I ditched everything one day and moved here.
I cannot express how amazing it was to plant seeds in the ground for the first time and watch them grow into huge plants that could barely be contained by regular pruning. Needing to buy only minimal dry goods from the grocery store while I feasted on massive salads and locally foraged more caloric fruit was amazing. I had always engaged in the sort of half-hearted nature worship that is typical of the community I grew up in, but when I marveled at how incredible it was that a tiny seed when exposed to water and sunlight could turn into so much, I just could not believe it all happened on accident. There was something deeply spiritual about plants and our relationship with them. I began to know deep in my soul that myself and these plants were created, and created to live together.
It was during this time that I met the man I would eventually marry. He was a Christian. He also lived very simply, gardening and doing work-trade, like I did. The people around me resided happily in their New Age echo chamber of ear-tickling bumper sticker catch-phrases and promises of a coming global consciousness that never really made sense to me and seemed to come mostly from self-published books of long rambling narratives channeled from extra-terrestrial spirits. So it was my future husband I went to when I wanted to understand the crippling gratitude I felt and what I now understand as the separation I had from God that I was experiencing when my own understanding of who He was began to fall short.
I had begun to think about the Eden story and what that had to do with gratitude. I wanted to write about it, as writing was always my go-to form of personal expression (and clearly still is). I had had this thought one day that maybe Eve did not appreciate all that she had in the Garden and had to taste the one fruit that wasn’t allowed and that’s why she and Adam got booted out and were made to till the soil. So I asked future hubs to tell me more about exactly what had happened in the Garden, and he explained the Fall to me. I had never really understood this concept. The atheistic world has this very simplistic understanding of the Fall, thinking that we’re all doomed for eternity because Eve screwed up once. But when he explained the concept of Adam and Eve knowing good and evil and how everything they needed had been provided beforehand, and created for them, and that before the Fall they walked with God in the garden, I was fascinated.
This explanation for the distance between man and the divine made more sense than anything I had heard beforehand, and it had always been forbidden to me in my secular, humanist, quasi-New Age upbringing. Ironically, this Christian worldview became like a reverse forbidden fruit to me and opened my eyes to the Truth when I went against the warnings of my culture and opted to taste of it.
When my husband and I got married, we lived in a small cabin and grew or foraged for the majority of the food we ate. I wrote a bit more about that here in the beginning of a series I shall continue in the future on the things I learned living off-grid. It was the happiest time of my life up until that point, and it was when I had the least. We spent our days working, gardening, relaxing and reading the Bible.
This was how I got to know the Lord.
My prayer life started each evening, in the garden, harvesting spinach and carrots and tomatoes for our dinner, and praising God for His amazing creation and the opportunity to grow my own sustenance.
Our life has had changes and ups and downs and different living situations since, but we are now living in a modest little cottage in the country again and re-connecting with the amazing miracle of gardening. However, this time around, I don’t feel that desperate need to express my gratitude, because I’ve been thanking God every day for all the nourishment I am provided, even the stuff shipped from South America that used to fill me with guilt (I’m still not crazy about eating Mainland produce but we had to survive without a garden). I no longer feel the weight of the separation between myself and God because I have accepted Him and His son, Jesus Christ, into my heart.
I now know for certain who created the plants and who causes them to grow for me. Harvesting my greens, I feel such an amazing commune with Him and marvel at His amazing creation.