by Christine Baker
I’ve always loved a good question. Even as a child in school and at home, I was always told, “You ask too many questions.” That might be true, but a good question always leads one to wonder which leads to exploration which leads to discovery which, ultimately, leads to learning.
At least this is the way it goes for me and at the ripe old age of 52, I’m not afraid to say, “I’m still questioning, wondering, exploring, discovering and learning.” I believe that’s how it’s supposed to be.
2021 has certainly been full of all of the above, a year filled with triumphs, victories, a few losses, a few new discoveries, much revelation and all intertwined with the love and mercy from the will of my Creator. As the year winds down, I glean treasures from what was given to me and mine, and embrace what is to come.
So this was a most recent question in our little world: What does one do, when what they planted and hoped for, turns out to be something entirely different? In late October, we discovered just such a scenario in our little backyard fall garden. There was a growing problem that needed quick attention. You see, my husband planted bush beans as one of our fall crops.
When he had talked to me about an entire row of snap beans, my mouth had watered. I had imagined sitting on the back patio overlooking the fall foliage while snapping beans.
It was something my Dad used to do. I envisioned puffs of steam coming off a pot of boiling fresh snap beans with tasso meat, the detectable smells wafting through my home. But about a month into planting, I heard his all-too-familiar lil’ saying, “We have a problem Houston.”
No, my name is not Houston, but I answered him nonetheless with a crooked smile, “Oh, yeah, what is it?” He answered, “We don’t have bush beans. We have pole beans.”
You can imagine my next question in my curt, southern accent, “Oh, Yeah, well, what’s the difference?” Not much except that bush beans grow on a bush and pole beans need a pole, a rope or a lattice to vine. Our excitement quickly turned to worry. What had been planted and what had come up was not the problem anymore. It was already done.
The real issue was where it had been planted. I mean a bean is a bean, right? “Not quite,” we learned. These two beans grow quite differently.
Much maneuvering and accommodations would quickly be needed to ensure a continued healthy plant and harvest. If you’re at a loss to imagine the challenge we faced, think on that old beloved children’s story, “Jack and the bean stalk” with the beanstalk(a pole bean of sorts) winding its way up to the heavens. Now imagine a whole row of them.
Needless to say, our fall garden, in spite of its challenges, is doing well. I’ve almost strangled myself on the strings tied to the poles tied to the fence in various locations a few times, but other than that, the end result has been bowls full of snap beans to snap and enjoy.
I’m reminded that even when we don’t get what we planted or hoped for, life and all its challenges and decisions, goes on. The sun still rises and sets. Our past is still our past, ever unchanged. Yet, there’s a reason why rear-view mirrors in vehicles are small and front windshields are large. We’re to glance quickly at what was, deal with what is and stare longingly at what will be.
I leave you at the end of 2021 with the words of the Great Apostle Paul from Philippians 3:13 in the NIV, “ . . . But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Goodbye, 2021. I have learned much from you. But now, I press on.
As always, Good eating! Good loving! Good living!
Au revoir, mes amis!
P.S. I’m a local writer and author (Who Am I? 31 Days to Discovering Your Identity in Christ, found @ the Amazon Bookstore) who loves all things Louisiana, gardening and Jesus, although not necessarily in that order. You can connect with me on Facebook at Christine Vidrine Baker, From One Woman’s Heart to Another on Facebook and Instagram or at Chriskvbaker@gmail.com