My dissertation/manuscript was heavily inspired by Jacqueline Jones's Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow. In the dedication, I thanked my mama for sharing her life story and told her, "I always knew we were your labor of love. I hope that you are proud of the fruits."
For some reason, I am heavily invested in those kinds of metaphors, the ideas of people planting and sowing and harvesting, particularly the idea that we sow now to provide a bountiful harvest for our children. One of my favorite Bible verses is Psalm 126:5--"They that sow in tears shall reap in joy."
I also love John 4:37-38--"Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.” And every time I was called to do the devotion, I read Ecclesiastes 3, including, "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven... a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted."
My mother STILL will keep me in line with warnings like these:
"Whatever one sows, that will he also reap," (Galatians 6:7)
"As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same," (Job 4:8)
"Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity, and the rod of his fury will fail,"(Proverbs 22:8)
"For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind," (Hosea 8:7)
What's my point on this Father's Day? Here it comes: I've given my mother a lot of credit for planting and tending and weeding and nurturing us. But my dad was an excellent gardener, as well. Because this is just my second Father's Day without him, there is still so much I am working through. I have to bite my tongue when friends talk about their relationships with their dads sometimes--my dad would frown heavily upon the feelings of resentment I have and my desire to say, "SO???? My daddy loved me and did things for my over-grown ass too!"
But I have come to the point that I remember more often with smiles than tears. And I want to thank my dad, via the words of an old poem, for his wonderful work sowing and reaping. I think we're some okay harvests :-)) I hope he knows that we take his model seriously and are always planting for this generation of grandchildren he loved so.
Happy Father's Day!
Our Father Kept A Garden
Our Father kept a garden,
A garden of the heart;
He planted all the good things,
That gave our lives their start.
He turned us to the sunshine,
And encouraged us to dream,
Fostering and nurturing
The seeds of self-esteem.
And when the winds and rain came,
He protected us enough;
But not too much because he knew
We would stand up strong and tough.
His strong and good example,
Taught us right from wrong;
Markers for our pathway that will
Last a lifetime long.
We are our Father's garden,
We are his legacy.
Thank you Dad, we love you,
Because you sowed our dreams!