…Dirt Don’t Hurt

Anybody who doubts God made man from dirt has never seen my dirt.

Seriously. I am in love. I look out the window and just stare. The kids pass me and stare at me. “You okay, Mama?”

I just nod and smile. And stare.

A week ago, my Daddy showed up at my front door. “Happy birthday!”

It took me a minute, considering that my birthday is no time soon. Then it hit me. I knocked him back with a bear hug. “Thank you, Daddy! My dirt!”

I raced outside, and sure enough, there it was. Daddy’s ancient dump truck, heavy laden with the most gorgeous dirt you ever saw. Coffee brown and crumply loamy. I choked on my squeal.

With help from clambering kids armed with shovels, rakes, and eager arms, he dumped all that dirt into a small mountain in the spot where I pretended to grow things last year in the rocky substrate left after construction.

“This stuff’s been under a shed for twenty years. It’s almost pure manure, aged and unleached.”

The joy. Picture a puppy with an open pack of bacon. That was me.

“Now, it’s full of weed seeds and Johnson Grass roots,” he said. “There’s limestone rocks from where the cows needed places to step. You’ll have to get all that out.”

“We will!” I started pitching out the rocks and showing the ugly evil roots to the little ones, who jumped right in to help.

GRANDAS BOTS
Grandpa and the boys. Above, the beautimous truck that delivered my lovely dirt.

He climbed in the old truck and rumbled away, and no white-hatted cowboy riding into the sunset was ever more appreciated. The kids and I dug in to leveling the mountain over the breadth of the garden.

As we worked, I knew my strength was limited. Ever since I first found out I was expecting twins two pregnancies ago, I’ve struggled with anemia. My strength has never fully returned. I worked, expecting to wilt at any moment.

It never happened. I dug, raked, pick-axed, and dumped wagonloads, but my strength remained. If anything, it increased.

“Mama, stop,” my son said. “You need to rest.”

I shrugged him off. “I’m not tired!”

“No, Mama, let us! We can do it!”

I ignored him. The sun and the soil felt so good. Well, the dirt drying on my hands was kinda fingernails-on-chalkboard. But so worth it.

Where’d All That Strength Come From?

Even though I’ve had mini-gardens since I’ve had the twins, I hadn’t dug in the dirt like this since before my iron plummeted. The spring I was expecting the twins was the first year, since I’d been married, that I had no interest in gardening. If only I’d known how badly I still needed it…

Interestingly, that was also the year I got my iPhone. Hmmm…

I haven’t felt the same vigor since my last big garden. I’m convinced that when God formed man from the dust of the ground, He wove the need for dirt as intricately in there as the need for food and intimacy.

The Proof

Scientists have discovered a microbe in soil, Mycobacterium vaccens, that increases seratonin. Some have called M. vaccens “the new Prozac.” Simply walking over tilled soil can release those glorious microbes to transform our mood. Other soil pathogens like Rhizopus arrhizus contribute to a healthy gut, which makes everything better. You know?

For anyone with eyes to see and no educational biases to hurdle, it’s mind-blowing how obvious it is that Genesis is true. God made us from dust. He sent man to till the dust of the fallen world – not as a vengeful edict, but as a loving remedy for the inevitable evils that were sure to come with sin now in the picture.

The same loving Creator watched as man adopted the notion that we’ve evolved beyond our dust-like beginnings, choosing to worship ourselves instead of Him. For some reason, He allowed Himself to take on the dust-based flesh and blood He had invented and walk this filthy world with us.

Is It Any Wonder Jesus Talked So Much About Soil?

He healed a man’s eyes using dirt. Well, clay.

Faced with an accusing mob, He silenced them by writing with His finger on the ground.

He enlightened farmers for millennia with his parable about the four kinds of soil. Later he elaborated it into a powerful spiritual lesson for those with ears to hear.

He likened bitterness to an ugly root, like the despicable Johnson Grass that’s scattered throughout my garden, just waiting for warm weather so it can pop out and ruin my pretty beans and maters, multiplying into a forest of life-sucking weeds.

What a God. If even His lowest creation, dirt, can raise us up and teach us all manner of wisdom. What. A. God.

As I type this, I’m sitting outside staring at my beautiful dirt. Once it’s nice and raked, I can’t help but warn the kids, “Don’t mess up the nice clean dirt!”

They laugh, but I mean it.

It’s a Masterpiece.

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11 thoughts on “…Dirt Don’t Hurt

  1. “Beautimous!” You’ve absolutely changed my mind about dirteous dirt! Can’t wait to till our plot of ground to plant rainbow carrots, butternut squash, “maters”, and wave petunias. Does your Dad deliver to the Pacific Northwest?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, Glenda! Rainbow carrots?! Cool. And how I love blue wave petunias. I shoulda known you’re a gardener. Something about placing a nondescript brown seed into the cool soil that inspires hope. And you’re a hopeful soul if ever I met one! 🙂

      Unfortunately, I doubt he’d deliver quite that far. Not that he wouldn’t like the drive, but I don’t think the old truck’s brakes would survive the Rockies.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Laughing! My kingdom for good brakes and a smooth path through the Rockies! Guess the local farm and garden store will have to supply the soil, then. 🙂 Yup. Rainbow carrots. There’s also a kaleidoscope blend!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Rebekah, thanks for getting me excited to garden again this year! Our soil is not the great stuff you refer to, but the gardening still brings satisfaction. Didn’t know those facts before!

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  3. Sweet Rebekah, what an enlightening take on dirt! I can see you and the kiddos having a blast together, and praise God for giving you the strength to enjoy the blessing He (and Papa) gave!

    Growing up on a farm in Kentucky I was surrounded by dirt. I haven’t spent much time in it since my mud pie making days back then! Everything I’ve ever tried to plant in dirt – any kind of dirt – dies. My thumb is as black as they come. My mother (an avid gardener) teases me and asks who in the world I belong too! :o)

    Thank you for reminding me that dirt has very important purposes in scripture! You’ve inspired me to look quite differently at this necessary and significant material. It just goes to show that what most of us see as dirty – God sees as useful!

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    1. Callie, I’m convinced you’ve got a green thumb somewhere! Our first conversation was about growing tomatoes in buckets, if I recall! Anybody with as much creativity and love of life as you have has got to have some latent farm skills. By the way, thanks for letting your boys help me in my garden last year! (And FYI – I’ve killed so many plants I don’t deserve to garden! Praise God for grace lol)

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  4. An ode to dirt. Love it! Have you heard of Earthing? Evidently if we walk barefoot on the grass, or just lie about on it, it’s good for the nervous system. Something about the earth’s energies matching our own, unlike the vibes we get from our computers and cell phones! I try to indulge in a session of Earthing every weekend. Must the same as working in the soil.

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    1. Wow, thanks for visiting, Diane! I’m honored! No, I’ve never heard of it. But I’m well acquainted with the feeling of wellness that comes from appreciating God’s handiwork! Nothing like it that we humans can devise, for sure. (And I’ve often been aware of the “bad vibes” that seem to emanate from cantankerous tech lol!) Thanks again for reading 😀

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  5. Finally got around to reading this. Wonderful post, Rebekah! You make me want to run out and play in the dirt. Too bad it’s windy, muddy and cold right now. Maybe I’ll get a chance later in the week. At any rate, I loved reading this. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve had that conversation with my mother in-law about how good dirt feels and what it does for a person. We even talked about that scientific discovery you mentioned. It’s true. Dirt is just good stuff!

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