Green: Remembering this is the dirt work of here and now


It’s been an interesting year for my garden. First it snowed, and Mr. Green Thumb (AKA Superman AKA my amazing husband) told me the snow would be good for the plants. Because snow melts slowly, it has time to seep deep into the earth. It both hydrates and oxygenates the soil, which creates a good environment for the vegetation.

Renae Green column

Then came the great Texas flood of 2021, just a couple weeks after I’d planted my garden, and I needed scuba gear just to check on its progress. By mid-June of last year, I already had squash, okra and cucumbers. This year at that time, I had nothin’ but soppy, swampy quicksand. I wanted to give up, but I put on my Pollyanna pants and tried again. As soon as the ground was dry enough to hold my weight, I added more plants. About that time, I noticed something. Some of the original seeds were breaking through the soil. Glory, Hallelujah and pass the peas, please.

All that time under the dirt, those little kernels were doing their thing. They grew roots. They broke out of their husks. All that time, the seeds were getting ready to die, so the plants within could burst through and begin their beautiful business of producing food for our table.

The same was true for the flowers in my yard. Zinnias are my recent favorites. The seeds don’t look like much. But once they do their underground work, they burst through, reach for the sun, and bloom their glorious colors. They invite the bees and butterflies and hummingbirds to my porch—seriously, who needs Netflix when you’ve got a show like that?

It occurred to me, for perhaps the first time ever, that what we’re doing right here, right now, is dirt work. This life is just the underground stuff... it’s preparation. Silly me. All this time, I’ve thought this is the real substance. I believed this life is what matters, and when I get to heaven, I’ll get to rest. I’ll get an eternal vacation as my reward for all my labor on earth. But I think I’ve been wrong.

I think my real life will begin when I get to heaven.

I think that’s where the bloom happens.

All this down here is just groundwork for what will happen during the rest of eternity. Right now, as I live a life of love and obedience to God, as I show kindness and mercy and justice, as I complete all the good works God places in my path to complete... all that is just roots, setting up a strong foundation for what will happen when I shed this husk and burst forth into glory.

Each breath I take here needs to be filled with His presence, to oxygenate me for my eternal calling.

Each move I make, each action I take, needs to stretch toward His light.

Today, as I face struggles and trials, as I feel smothered by the difficulties of the here and now, I’ll remind myself that this is all just underground. I’m bound to get dirty, because I’m living in the soil. It’s just the stage I’m in.

But one day... oh, one day I’ll be a Zinnia and burst through to the other side. I’ll shed this earthly tent and become something, someone more beautiful than I ever imagined. And the show of glory then will be determined by the groundwork I lay now.

I’ll do my best to fill it with the nutrients of God’s love, spilled out to Him, poured out on others.

“For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing.” 2 Corinthians 5:1-2

Renae Brumbaugh Green is a bestselling author and award-winning humor columnist. She lives in Stephenville with her handsome, country-boy husband, nearly perfect children, and far-too-many animals. Connect with Renae at www.RenaeBrumbaugh.com