Today I am honored to feature a guest post from Laurel Griffith today as we celebrate Father’s Day. Laurel, a gifted writer, speaker, and author, edited and published a magazine entitled Wiregrass Christian Living when she and her husband, Jim, lived here in Dothan. Now I have the opportunity to read her blog several times a week at http://www.laureljoycegriffin.com. She writes with great wisdom, faith, authority, and wit. She truly follows the path that the Lord is directing her on, and is a great mentor to many. She and Jim, a physician, are parents to three grown sons, and live in Albany, Georgia.
She recently was in Dothan on a book tour with her book, When You Don’t Know What to do . . . Lean Forward. You can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Lean-Forward-When-Dont-Know/dp/0989816303/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402799199&sr=8-1&keywords=laurel+griffith
My husband bought a tractor. Who knew it would take so much time? He read about tractors, talked to tractor experts and went to tractor auctions. I spent one Saturday with him in the tractor trenches, but I’m not sure my feedback made the decision any easier. Did you know that you also need other implements to go along with your tractor? You must also buy bush-hogs, discs and those cutter-things.
The reason we need a tractor is simple. Jim bought the farm — in the best sense of the word.
My husband loves the land and has been searching for just the right place to grow timber. He settled on acreage close to our home in Georgia. Then he went right to work buying the right machinery and building a barn. When the time is right, he will thin, spray, burn, and plant. His goal is to create a beautiful place to share with others.
Jim looks across the acres and sees what this land can become. He recognizes the potential.
Gardeners and tree farmers have a lot in common. Both groups select the best plants for the location. They prune what is weak and they nurture new growth. In the process, they learn lessons about hard work and patience and the wonder of God’s creation.
Tree farmers love sharing their passion with others. They will talk about wood density and growth rate. They will describe their tractor and invite you to join them in the pick up truck. You can see their trees if you appear halfway interested.
Most gardeners I know want you to visit their garden. They offer blossoms and produce. They invite you to linger, to soak in the quiet and the beauty. They can tell you the details of every plant: why they placed it where they did, how it grew last year, and what they expect in the season to come.
In past years, I would have been happy that Jim had found a place to do the things he loves to do. I would have encouraged him to spend time in the woods because I knew it was important to him. But now I realize this is more than a hobby or a pastime. I am beginning to feel his passion with him. I will never have the same zeal for the land but I am learning to see “the farm” through his eyes.
This desire to create beauty, to grow flowers and produce and plant trees began in the first garden. When God created Adam and Eve He made them partners in His work. He told them to subdue and care for the earth. God made people stewards of His creation.
The gardener and the tree farmer are fortunate people. They see the connection between their vision, their work and God’s great design. They understand planting, pruning, and harvesting is actually an extension of God’s creative mission. They feel God’s pleasure when they plant seeds, create habitat, and then invite others to enjoy it with them. It’s not only about the final product; it’s also about the process.
It occurs to me that dads have a lot in common with those who tend the soil.
Dads plant small seeds into the lives of their children. They see the particular potential that each child has — who they can become by God’s grace with the right nurture and opportunities. Dads also tend the soil, remove weeds that choke the growth and nourish the growing child. They pray and they advise. They correct and they encourage. They toil in their “garden” through all kinds of weather.
Gardeners, tree farmers, and dads give their best and wait with patience and great expectations for God to bring the harvest.
Jim Griffith and his sons . . .
Thank you, Laurel, for sharing your inspiring thoughts on the connection between gardening and God’s plan for fatherhood.
Celebrating the many gifts fathers bring into our lives….
“He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it” – Clarence Kellum