Text: Tuula Stång
Translation: Sirkka-Liisa Leinonen
The best way to get rid of one’s sense of well-being is to take on an excessive workload at the beginning of the summer.
My late sister had given me a bag of poppy seeds, and I planted them in peat pots on the kitchen table. I did that in memory of my dear sister. But what on earth made me also buy snapdragon, sweet pea and sunflower seeds? There were so many pots on my table that there was hardly space for me to eat my meals.
Once I had completely lost control, I also purchased a box garden frame, more seeds of many kinds and ten sacks of planting mix. In my mind’s eye I saw myself working in my garden with the cool calmness of the ancient Chinese, surrounded by sweet birdsong and the lovely fragrance of spring flowers.
But reality began to dawn on me quite soon. All my time went into hauling things from one place to another, cleaning and tidying, and washing things. I had to wash the rugs quickly as long as the weather was good and there was still enough water in the well. I struggled with the clothes line, trying to fix it so firmly it would not break under the weight of my washing. In the meantime, my sunflower seedlings grew very tall, collapsed, turned yellow, and finally died. I did not have the time. I did not have the energy. But what was most important, I made a flower bed for the poppies and planted them under frost cloth. The snapdragons simply withered away.
The geraniums I had bought at the market seemed to thrive, however. I meant to plant them in big planters, but I got a nasty surprise: the soil in one of the planters was full of small ants. They had even invaded the sack of planting mix lying next to the planter. I emptied the sack between the currant bushes and tried to collect at least some of the precious stuff for my seedlings.
The box garden was my last project. It was late in the day, and I was exhausted and surrounded by swarms of mosquitoes and flies. I had had this experience before: my sweat pants were slipping down, my shirt was too skimpy, mosquitoes were stinging me, my glasses were fogged over, my hearing aid was falling down my cheek. But I managed to plant the red onions. And even the peas. I impatiently stuffed the carrot and radish seed strips down into the soil (which seemed to me peat, which I had not meant to buy). The lettuce, dill, parsley and marigold seeds barely escaped being dumped into a mass grave.
When, after all that toil and struggle, I sat down in my rocking chair, I heard the birdsong through the open window. The wind was sighing in the trees. I realized that I can still hear all that – and I should be happy about it. Although my whole body was sore, I knew I can still do cleaning moderately well – and that is another reason to be happy.
Life is not just hard work, despair, sorrow, pain, difficulties and going downhill. There is also something else, something that touches us much deeper and encourages us to struggle along.
Israelin kansan vaeltaessa kohti tavoitteena olevaa luvattua maata Jumala antoi sille ruokaa yhden päivän annoksen kerrallaan (2. Moos. 16:4). Uskovaista sanotaan edelleen päivän lapseksi. Toivetta taivaan kotiin pääsemisestä saattaa himmentää epäilys siitä, etten ehkä jaksakaan kilvoitella uskossa koko elämääni ja jään välille. Raamattu neuvoo uskovaista kuitenkin ottamaan välitavoitteeksi tämän päivän – enempää ei kerrallaan tarvitsekaan jaksaa.
Siionin Joulu on lehti joulun kristillistä sanomaa kaipaavalle. Lehti on värikäs, aikaansa heijastava. Hartauksien lisäksi siinä on haastatteluja eri puolilta maailmaa.
Lohdullisia ja riemullisia lauluja taivaasta Jämsän Kristillinen Kansanopiston kuoron laulamana.