A few weeks ago, I signed up to help tend the courtyard at my daughter’s school. Through an inspiring class project called Seeds of Change, my daughter’s triad transformed a sad looking courtyard into something beautiful and magnificent.
With the guidance and encouragement of their teachers, the children saw something that needed fixed, came up with a plan and then took the necessary steps to turn their vision into a reality.
They raised money. They met with school officials. They met with landscapers. They put their hands in the ground and helped plant flowers. They got dirty.
And they did it. The transformation was remarkable.
In order for it to remain this way and flourish over the hot, summer weeks – families were encouraged to sign up for one week to help tend the courtyard.
This was our week.
Last week, as I was looking at my calendar, I thought – “What in the world was I thinking?”
I couldn’t believe I had signed up for this week.
What. Was. I. Thinking?
I obviously was having a major brain malfunction when I signed up for this week.
This week is the last week before our house goes on the market. This week my husband is out of town all week. This week is the week I need to finish decluttering and painting and organizing.
And we are preparing to go out of town. I need to pack. And packing for an entire family takes a lot of time.
Did I mention our house goes on the market next week? Did I mention my husband is out of town ALL WEEK?
What. Was. I. Thinking?
Regardless of what I was thinking – we were doing this.
We arrived on Monday and I told the kids this would take around 20 minutes. Water. Pull a couple of weeds. Finished.
In and out.
That was the plan. Until we actually saw the courtyard. The beautiful courtyard was in a sad state of dehydration and was slowly being overtaken by a colony of weeds.
20 minutes was a pipe dream and I was feeling annoyed. Very annoyed.
But what was I going to do? Complain about it? Be a whiny baby? No. Not an option. I was trying to teach my kids the importance of volunteering with a joyful heart. My grumpster, harried, undesirable attitude could not surface.
I forced a smile and got to work.
And as my hands repeatedly went into the dirt pulling up weed after weed and as I looked around and saw my children tending to the plants and the flowers and running through the sprinkler, something in my heart began to change.
A feeling of joy began to bubble up. I was removed from my problems and my stress and my long list of this weeks to-dos.
With my hands in the dirt, my heart changed and the smile I had plastered on in an attempt to mask my true emotions changed into a genuine smile of gratitude.
For the rest of the week, the highlight of my day became tending the courtyard with my children. It was a reprieve from the daily grind. It felt good to be caring for nature and to take part in this beautiful project the kids had worked so hard on all year long.
It was a wonderful reminder that oftentimes the best medicine for my soul is to remove the focus from me and my issues and my problems and to turn it to something bigger, something better.
Serving with my children this week brought my family joy. Hopefully, as this courtyard flourishes, it will continue to bring joy to all who stop in to enjoy the flowers, have a meal at the picnic tables, or read a book under the shade of a tree.
It was medicine for my soul. I don’t know what I was thinking when I signed up for this week, but it worked out in the end. Better than I ever could have imagined.
God’s timing is amazing. It is perfect. He is good. This was just what I needed.
My soul, my heart, my mind really, really needed this. This was a rough week. I needed this – way more than that courtyard needed me.
I thought I was going to serve and instead – with each weed that was pulled, with each flower that was deadheaded, with each plant and flower that was watered and each time I looked up and saw my children participating in the care of this courtyard – my spirit was ministered to.
Isn’t it funny how that happens?