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Surprise, surprise!

by Melissa Stone

I’m in the garden shed, the pitter-patter of light rain on the metal roof adding a staccato rhythm to my quiet musing: what does one do when nourishment is tainted? I glance out the metal doors to see Baby Girl on the patio table, her tail slapping the black metal. I follow her gaze, and ten feet away a house wren perches on an obelisk, his frustrated chatter rattling the otherwise quiet morning; she has encroached upon his territory, and he isn’t happy.

My thoughts return to the question and its origin. I opened a bag of Miracle-Gro garden soil last week, amending the perennial bed in preparation for new plantings. When I raked it level, my eyes were drawn to an object I’d never expected to be there—a plastic cigarette filter. I picked it up, eyes darting to the vegetables, herbs, and fruit in the containers behind me. Was the potting soil contaminated, too? But wait; my squash is growing inground! I took a picture of the filter and threw it away, literally becoming sick at the thought of eating produce from soil that harbored a cigarette filter.

I was determined to pull up my edibles, throw away the soil—not compost it—and start again with an organic soil. Shock, betrayal, anger, then distrust came in waves. When my stomach and mind settled in the cool quiet of my bedroom, one word came to mind: grace. Did I overreact? Probably. Naturally, a metaphor wasn’t far behind.

I celebrated my 29 anniversary with Bobby on May 21, and I am grateful to have such a loving, kind, good, and patient (I mean REALLY patient) husband. Through the years I’ve hurt him, and he’s hurt me. We’ve had instances that incited those very emotions of shock, betrayal, anger, and distrust. I’ve had situations with friends that have done the same, but grace on both sides has kept all these cherished relationships intact and growing. And I can’t forget the grace of God that gave me a second chance and continues to feed me daily. With that thought my eyes flit to the Espoma organic fertilizer. My edibles may not be growing in the best of mediums, but I’m feeding them with healthy food.

When we’re tempted to pull up roots and start again, we can show a little grace; it goes a long way in establishing growing, healthy relationships. As for my edibles, they get a pass this year, but it’s Dr. Earth next year!

“Grace, grace, God’s grace; grace that will pardon and cleanse within.

Grace, grace, God’s grace; grace that is greater than all my sin.”

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