I spent the better part of most of my university summers working with plants. I kind of fell into it at first. I needed something to bridge the gap between school and summer camp. Someone in my dorm suggested garden centres, and so the next time I was in the fertile land of Southwestern Ontario, I made my way to Bekendam Greenhouses. While I may have 'fallen' into the green land, looking back, it's pretty clear that I was led to the hoop houses and flats and flats of pansies and marigolds and geraniums and alysum.
Oh the alysum, hoop house 9 always smelled so amazing. A sea of white and purple and pinkish-purple. I loved that hoop house, until of course the end of the season when your scrambling along precariously placed boards, over 8 inches of standing, mucky water, and it smells to high heaven, but not like it did in the early days when the plants were just growing. It was amongst these flowers that I met one of the greatest girls. And I met my match for talking. We became fast friends and could, I kid you not, talk for the entire day, 12 hours worth of talking. We talked about everything - boys and flowers and politics and books and Jesus. We talked a lot about Jesus. H famously asked a customer, one night as the sun was setting and we were working late, if the customer believed in the headship principle. This woman look at us like we were completely mad, I believe that the owner might have reprimanded us for bugging the customers. But we worked hard while we talked about Jesus, so we couldn't really get in trouble. Never mind that the owners were devout Christians, so much so that we never worked on Sunday, so they really couldn't get too upset about us Evangelising, however roundabout it may have been!
But there, amongst the flowers, with rickety carts piled high with wholesale orders, we worked out our theology. We challenged each other, and we fought. We looked at each other disbelieving as one said something that seemed preposterous. And sometimes it was. And sometimes one of us probably helped to shape the other, bending her a little more to the way of Christ, and a little less to her own nature. (strong though each of ours may be!) I am blessed to call her friend.
I planted geraniums and violas this weekend, and some osterosprumum - also known as African Daisy - and I thought of my times in the greenhouse. And I was grateful for being led to summers in overheated, humid, plastic enclosures, because apparently, I can grow a decent garden all these years later, and those seeds that were planted deep in us while chatting and laughing, they fell on fertile soil and a harvest has been produced beyond either of our wildest dreams.