Lessons learned from transplanting

Published 1:00 pm Sunday, March 27, 2022

“I can do it,” my little great-grand farmer, Miles, assured me when I carried my transplant into his backyard. He saw my shovel which gave him the immediate idea that dirt work was one of his major skills.
I had gotten permission to use their backyard for a blueberry bush that once grew in our north Mississippi backyard. It was one of the few transplants from our 40-year hill country and had lots of nostalgia in its background. Yet — it had been a big disappointment. I had nurtured it, planted it in one of my larger flower beds (reservations only — space) and bought specific fertilizer for its kind. The late frost had been the culprit in two of the nine years that it rested in my bed, but it had no excuses for the other seven years. Its blueberry crop amounted to a skimpy handful.
I finally realized that it was taking up precious space with no reimbursement for my care and time invested in its survival. That’s when I decided to give it one last chance — in a larger, sunnier environment. When my young farmer offered to help with the transplant, I thought I saw the blueberry bush tremble.
We found the perfect spot in a large clearing, close to their fence. I pushed my shovel into the soft ground and turned over the first dig. It was great dirt! The dark, rich texture showed no evidence of the gummy clay that I had tried to cover in my Brandon garden. This blueberry bush was moving to a better home.
As I took the second dig, my little assistant repeated, “I can do it!” Reaching for the handle that his small hands could barely grasp, he confidently took the shovel from my hands. Time and schedules weren’t involved, so I submitted to his request and told him to keep digging.
I stepped back the length of the shovel due to the shoveler tossing small pockets of dirt to all sides with some scoops flung upwards. He would occasionally stop to brush the dirt from his hair only to go at his new task with increased determination.
The transplant took much longer than I anticipated, but my young helper had a motivation that I didn’t want to smother. His zeal and self-confidence were admirable, and he was totally convinced that he was the “man” for the job.
Lessons learned: (1) I’m reminded that I’ve been a lot like that blueberry bush — blessed by God with time, tools and access to knowledge — everything I need to grow and produce fruit — yet, not always taking advantage of those blessings. (2) God shows us grace and mercy by giving us repeated chances — even to the extremes of changing our “stations” in life. (3) Our Heavenly Husbandman lovingly cares for His vineyard by always doing to the branches what’s needed for their growth and fruit bearing. (4) God is so very patient with His children to allow us to do life in our own strength until we realize we can do nothing without Him. (5) Our Husbandman is long suffering and patient with us, stepping back to watch but never leaving us. (6) After a dedicated attempt to be my helper, my young farmer in frustration and burnout finally handed me my shovel and said, “Your turn now.” This was probably the most important lesson I needed to learn.


Letters to Camille Anding can be sent to P. O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS 39601.

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