The tiny than tinier seed whose name is a mouthful, Rudbeckia hirta, sprouted. Well, some of them did. I planted thirty-six starter plants, and at least six of them waved at me this morning when I went to water them. Well, they didn’t really wave. They are still too minuscule to have much personality. But the dots of fresh green amongst dark brown is as pleasing as a wave, and a testimony I did not drown them.
Watering teeny, tiny seeds in those diminutive composition flats is tricky. A spray bottle’s application is safer but slower; the watering can is faster – but if I don’t water carefully, I can flood the flats. I flooded a few compartments this past week. The spray bottle was empty, and the watering can was full; so, I used what was easiest on a hot evening – a recently filled watering can.
Sometimes – too often – that’s how I talk to people. Emotion or fatigue or something wells up in me, and I flood an unsuspecting soul with my words, because it is easier. Full of myself, I will answer loudly, in exasperation; or, I will mutter a caustic remark.
And I am really bad with customer service operators.
For someone who says she believes in the fruit of the spirit, when I am trying to settle a bill or other service problem an eavesdropper would be hard-pressed to hear kernels of kindness. Frustration can culminate in disrespect – and I speak as I would never wish to be addressed.
Harsh words to strangers (to anyone) can become stumbling blocks. Mahatma Gandhi once declared he was impressed with Christ, but not with Christians: “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Apparently, a churchman in a South African church had barred Mr. Gandhi from entering the church, and used intemperate speech, and he remembered the insult. Why do I “forget” that my words to an unseen person may inflict life-changing harm?
Speaking to someone thousands of miles from me is a feat of communication that Paul or John could not have envisioned. Instead being filled with awe that God has provided me such a venue to be His ambassador, I have too often blown the occasion, flooding the flats of another person’s soul, when I could have taken the time, “refilled” with the Holy Spirit, and misted their hearts’ soil.
The comfort and blessing of God’s word are that my Advocate not only defends me before my accuser but He pleads my case, and paid my court costs before I understood their magnitude. (1 John 1:9-10) The mercy is He did not treat me as I deserved. (Psalm 103) And therefore, because of Him, I can treat others with forbearance, kindness and respect. So, making sure the spray bottle is filled, before I water those tender sprouts next time – I pray God reminds me the mission field may just be the next service call I must make!