Friday, June 21, 2013

I believe in angels

Posted by Melissa

I started drawing angels last Advent, thinking about Christmas ornaments. They were extremely simple in their basic shape--no arms, round stylized faces. They were basically platforms for me to decorate with color and flowery designs. They were cute. I can't show them to you because they are in the hands of a graphic designer.

I had a funny feeling while I was working on them--I felt embarrassed that a real angel might see them and think they were silly. I believe that angels are bright creatures that God sends to protect us, help us, give us messages and do other things beyond our comprehension. My husband has seen angels. I've gotten over my funny feeling, though I don't really think there are little girl gardening angels.

But who knows?  There is a line in the Talmud: "Every blade of grass has an angel bending over it saying "Grow, grow." For awhile I had been thinking G.K. Chesterton said that, probably because of a mental association with this passage from his wonderful book Orthodoxy:

"A child kicks his legs rhythmically through abundance, not absence of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grownup person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that he has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore."

Indirect justification for making little girl gardening angels, yes? God says, "Do it again" and they bend over the peonies, the daisies, the morning glories and say "Grow."

And if I can't do anything like justice to real angels, Chesterton has another line to bolster my confidence: "If something is worth doing, it is worth doing poorly." In other words, if it's worth doing at all, it's worth doing even if you can't do it well.

And now I must go to my own garden. The angels there seem to need a little help. Which makes sense. All creation is a miracle, albeit a broken one, and humans have a unique function of participating in the miraculous on many levels and in many ways, including working the soil.

Right now, our weeds are prettier than our vegetables, at least in photographs. I'll show pictures of our vegetables when they really take off. It has been so cool, overall, that they haven't grown quickly, but it's been a great season for lettuce and arugula. It would have been great for peas, but we didn't get them in.

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