Under the Same Sun – Falling in Love with the World Next Door
Happy Valentines Day. We are still in the throes of winter here – not nearly as bad as in some parts of the country – but winter nonetheless. It is colder than I like it, rainier than I like it, and greyer than I like it. And that’s saying something, given that one of the many reasons I left my native home in Hawaii was the warm, tropical weather.
I am a spring and autumn girl. I like my seasons changing. I like things coming and going. I like the burst and turn of life curling into and unto itself. Right now I am longing for my garden. I am not content with the seed catalogs and glossy magazines; tempting me with their spill of color – endless variety of tomatoes; purple painted eggplants; a dizzying variety of organic lettuces and heirloom beans in all the colors of the rainbow.
I am longing to sink my fingers into the just-warmed earthy; freshly turned after my husband runs through it with the tiller; scattering bits of it in the wind while threshing out small starts; and feeling the early sun warm my back as I stretch and kneel and dig in. I am longing to do this with my daughter by my side – her palatable excitement brimming and swirling about; nearly tangible. Dancing from my garden bed to hers to the one in the far back for corn and sunflowers. This unfolding sprout of mine has been gardening in full with me for several years now. Pouring through the pages with me. Planning and sketching as we lay out our garden spaces. Talking about what went where in previous years and how what we’re rotating in.This is a nesting space for us where we enjoy our time together. We talk. We dream. We laugh. We love pulling produce from the earth as the crops go through their cycles and enjoy bringing the bounty onto our table as the season moves. It is a special mother-daughter time; a family time when my husband joins us. It is nurturing. It is sustaining. It is essential. It is love.
Over nine thousand miles away in Maubane, South Africa, a community of mothers and children gathers around another patch of sun-warmed earth and laugh, eat, play, dream. They too want to sink their fingers into the earth, cultivate it, and watch it bring forth good things to eat. They long for a garden.
150 adults and 250 orphans call this place home. Three of Lisa Jo’s adopted siblings are from this community and her family still lives there. We’d like to make that home a little more secure and a little more sustainable. It seems overwhelming to image that we could do this. Until you stop and remember that we’ve done it before.
We’ve measured out detergent cup by cup; box by box and done laundry together in South Africa to fund a water point in less than twelve hours – the same water point that will supply this new garden.
We’ve counted the cost of generators, classrooms, computers, and a van – found these things infinitely worthy and delivered Christmas to young mothers and their babies at Mercy House in Kenya.
We can do this. But more importantly, He can do this. We will do this because of Jesus.
Across the country today, people will tear open red envelopes, dig into sweet chocolate, and bury their noses in long stem roses. They will sit across beautiful tables laid out with fine china, delicate crystal, and succulent food offerings. Couples will gaze longingly into each other’s eyes and walk hand in hand down boardwalks and along sandy beaches. This is what this world calls love.
But that’s not all there is. This inward facing, elite kind of love draws a line around the lovers and says no more, just us, exclusive. Real love that acts like a verb is more than a date on a calendar and never leaves anyone out. Real love opens arms wide; stretches the imagination and across continents and says I don’t know you, but I care. We are under the same sun and loved by the same Father. I don't know you, but I care. Today, YOU are invited to fall in love with the world next door and join us as we launch our project to raise $150,000 between Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.
In case you're wondering ... this would normally be the space for the Five Minute Friday - and it will be again next week. But we're just so excited by this adventure that we're bumping space and breaking rules to make this happen. Follow along on the hashtag #SurprisedByMotherhood.