Okra

I am 23 ½ weeks pregnant. John John and Judah have spent the night with Grandmommy for the first time in months, so John and I have had a fun day to ourselves. We of course chose to spend the morning in our huge garden. (First things first: the musings on gardening are infinitely endless.)

I’m walking around the garden, just wanting to get some exercise. Then I ask, “What’s planted behind that row of corn?” It’s the middle of May, so everything is now growing beautifully. But it’s still hard to tell what’s what sometimes. “That’s the okra,” John said. “It needs to be thinned out.” I have planted okra seed before and learned the hard way that if you plant it too thick, you’ll just have to come back later and pull up some of the plants to thin it out. “Ok, I’ll do it.” I wanted to contribute to the garden, even if I am quite pregnant. So I start pulling up the tender green plants and carelessly tossing them to the side. This makes me feel a little funny inside. “John, I hate thinning okra.” “Well, I do too,” he answered. I didn’t mean I hated it because it was back breaking work… “No, I hate it because it hurts my feelings to pull up these little plants that have worked so hard to grow!” I said with a laugh. He just says, “It has to be done or the rest won’t grow right.”

I doubt John has any idea how long I’ve pondered what he answered. I bent over for quite a while pulling okra and thinking about this life application. First, there is the idea of “natural selection”. Here I am coming through and choosing which little sprout to pull up and kill. This is merciless random killing. I’m leaving a few plants an inch or so apart so they will now have room to grow and produce the amazing vegetable called okra. So in fact, I’m not just killing mercilessly, I’m saving the entire crop! I’ve had to sacrifice a whole bunch to make sure we get anything at all. Interesting.

Secondly, I think about our lives as Christians. The row of okra is my life, or my mind, or whatever. I am pulling up what is choking out my progress. I think I like this application the best. It isn’t as depressing. Here’s too much TV. Pulled and thrown away. Here’s too much sugar. You get pulled and thrown away. Oh, here’s too much gossip. Pull you up and toss. Here’s highly thinking of myself. That definitely needs a handful pulled up and thrown way behind me.

Third, influences in our lives as a family. Who do I choose to move on with, and who do I choose to toss? That sounds cruel. But I think it’s quite cruel to weed out good okra shoots. I decided today that I would text a new friend to sort of extend friendship where I was considering letting it go by the wayside. I also texted an old friend to check on her. I decided some people and their words were not worth spending too much time on. Pluck it out and let it go. We will all grow better because of that.

I think the time in the okra patch was quite valuable. Even though I hurt my back, I am happy to have been able to think of such things. Thank you Lord, for okra.

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