“Fools fold their hands and ruin themselves.” Ecclesiastes 4:5 NIV
My dad had working hands. They were rough and rugged, callused from a lifetime of work. He started on a farm and never had a job that did not include manual labor. I remember the sound of him rubbing my mom’s back. She had some shirts that were polyester. When he rubbed his hand across her shoulder, the material would sometimes snag on his bare hand. I can still hear that scratching sound.
I have had manual labor jobs before, just not in a while. I sell insurance and real estate. My hands do not look anything like his. My manual work is in my yard. We have a nice yard with a lot of flowers and a garden. Homegrown tomatoes and cucumbers are just better. It is a little work, but it is good to work. The only problem is that my old out of shape body does not like it when crawling around on my hands and knees. It can take two days to recover from one.
This year my wife gave me the bright idea to use a raised garden. She found one on Pinterest and showed me. She was thinking too small. One day I drove past a new playground that was being built in Hays.
As I was driving, I noticed the pallets they had lying around on that site. They were long and looked perfect. I also saw a sign that said “Free wood” in front of them. So there was my raised garden. They were 24 feet long and heavy. I called my brother, and we got to work. He is a horse, and it was still about all we could do to load one, so we took three – two for tables and one for table legs and bracing (there were probably 15 or 20 stacked there).
Over the past week, I have raised them and cut holes for buckets. The result is a pretty dang incredible garden that I can now work on standing straight up. I have a cucumber and cantaloupe table with cages for the vines. Tomato plants sit among flowers to make it all look beautiful. Vegetables will grow at eye level. I call it the green mile.
I have worked on it for about a week. During that time, I have completely shut out all the noise of the day – every day. My hands were a bit dirty even after I washed them. I have some calluses and scrapes.
God gave Adam a job to tend the garden – in paradise. I imagine the vegetables were already perfect, but the job had a purpose. If you are on your hands and knees working in the dirt, God can speak in the silence. The Bible does not mention God yelling to get our attention. It says His still, small voice. If we are quiet, we can hear Him better. You may not be working in a garden like Adam, but what is your garden of Eden?
The garden made Adam available to listen. What is your Garden of Eden? God gave all of us either a job that pays money or one that doesn’t. I need to spend more time in mine and less time trying to figure out the plan. I have noticed that in general, if my hands are dirty, whether I am working in the yard or helping anyone do anything, my heart stays cleaner. I do not worry about the business of life or work or anything else. Usually, if I am worried about the administrative issues of life, I occupy myself with things that are not my job anyway. If my hands are getting dirty, my mind is more open. The complications are pushed out by the simple.