Digging by Cheryce Berg

Cheryce first posted this on her blog, Hope and Be:Longing, which she describes as "stories of hope, belonging and longing."

I’m out back behind the shed, sitting on a pile of dirt. I did a snake check before I sat, not that there ever are snakes but there was one, once, in my garage, and if I were him this back corner of the yard is where I’d take a morning nap. And I don’t want to be the one to wake him up.

I’m between a tipped over wheelbarrow, two lime green kayaks, a log pile half un-covered, a pale garden hose, an empty trailer, and a cracked black tarp. I’m feeling out of sorts back here, thinking I might organize it differently, or at all. If you even can organize that place behind the shed, maybe freshen it up a bit.

I’m not a gardener and I don’t pretend to be, which is obvious if you take a peek at what I’m doing. Repotting sideways pale plants from my kitchen windowsill who are dying a slow death because they were trying to survive while tipped over in their too-big pots with barely enough dirt covering their roots to be modest. And if they weren’t cacti to start with they’d be long gone.

But I’m not mired by the dirt and disorder and dying cacti because the morning June sun shines brightly on my face as I dig with my spade, and I pause to look up and pray.

I’m thirsty for prayer, to focus the eyes of my heart away from the dirt and up to the light. My heart carries the news of more than one friend who is facing her own pile of dirt behind the shed, filled with scraps and weeds and things tipped over. Messy, broken, lonely pain in so many lives—it all gets poured out before the Lord Jesus as I sit here in the dirt.

I pray for the mamas whose hearts are breaking, whose children are aching and chasing after the wind. I pray for the wives whose tears go unseen, whose weariness runs deep. I pray for the lonely who wish they were wives or mamas and aren’t.

I pray for these friends who may have lost sight of hope, that the sun would break through and shine on them, too, out back on their own piles of dirt. That they, too, would feel the morning breeze, the breath of their Creator, on their cheeks and look up instead of down at the mess and mire underneath them.

I trudge back inside, carrying my newly repotted cacti who gaze up at me, hopeful. And I dig some more, this time at my kitchen table and into the Psalms, to find words of hope now to revive my friends.

I read Psalm 18:19, “He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.” And in the same Psalm, verse 28, “For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness.”

And I dig out this hope and repot it in my words, that I might use it to encourage my friends when I have the chance. I glance out the window again at the shed and the sun, and notice I can’t see the pile of dirt from here at my kitchen table while digging up hope in the Psalms.

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