That’s right – BASIL!
Our relationship with our landlord has not been an easy one. Other residents have messed him over and left him with trust issues, for sure. Try as we might, our southern charms were NOT working and, after a year, we were ready to resolve ourselves to avoidance at all costs.
One of the professors at the seminary tells of his difficult relationship with his stepfather. His mom remarried when he was an adult and his stepfather would not give him the time of day. The stepfather was awful to his mother and Mr. B says he couldn’t find anything nice to say about the guy (that’s huge coming from this guy!) Anyway, his stepfather loved this certain type of flower which is hard to come by and has many variations; he didn’t have any in his much loved and cared for garden. Mr. B decided he would commit to give him a new plant of this type for every anniversary and birthday.
This went on for over 30 years. The stepfather never said anything about the flowers but Mr. B would hear him telling others and boasting about his much loved plants. Mr. B kept a list of the types he had given so that he would give a new variety each time. FINALLY, Mr. B’s mom and stepdad come to visit him in his home. His stepfather came to him and said, “I heard you will be preaching while we are here. I would like to come hear you.” It was after hearing the sermon that this man gave his life to Christ and was forever changed. He died 6 months later.
So I started looking to see what is of high value to my Landlord and, dadgummit, wouldn’t it be gardening! I have a black thumb but I decided to use that for ministry with my Landlord and his wife. Also, I noticed that they adore my kids. Often times he will ignore that I am around but chat and chat with Little and Bubba.
So, we have taken a walk around the yard together and they have told me about all the plants, when they were planted, and their plans for the future – – in the yard. I have asked questions, asked for help planting flowers, and complimented their flower garden and veggie garden. (All of this has been sincere – just not natural)
Saturday the kids had run down the driveway to the Landlords house to look at butterflies over the flower garden and see if Mr. M was out with is riding horses (play toys left from his kids and grandkids!) Mrs. M called out to me from the backyard and asked if I used basil. I answered that I did some and she handed me a huge pile of plants she had just pulled from the ground. She walked me through how to dry the basil in the microwave and I thanked her. The kids ran and giggled with Mr. M while we chatted and then we all headed back home. Moments later Mr. M knocked on the door and gave the kids the only two raspberries that were ripe from his bush.
It’s one thing that we can relate now. My prayer is that they will see Jesus in our lives. Hear Jesus on our lips. That their hearts would long for Him and we would have one more place to find common ground. I pray that the Lord would use the garden and my children to be a way to my Landlord’s heart.