Yesterday, we celebrated Victoria Day here in Canada. That meant that I had all my boys home and my girls were home from school by 12:30 p.m.. Victoria Day also marks the first safe planting date here – there shouldn’t be anymore frost, we hope.
This year, I really want to get a bit of a vegetable garden going. The truth is that my homeschooled teenage son is in charge of the planning, building and planting, with me supervising and contributing to the decision-making process. I approve planting locations, creations that consume space and add to the aesthetics of the yard, and, most importantly, spending. We bought our seedlings last week and the pressure was on to get them in the ground.
The planning was mostly done, or so we thought. We traipsed outside to measure our space and make our supply list for the box we intend to build. We have chosen to create a raised bed garden in order to protect the plants from soccer balls and players! Once we got outside, we realized/remembered, that we had a little issue with a lilac tree. Between our house and the neighbour’s, grows a once-beautiful-now-mostly-dying lilac tree. We had thought we would somehow get rid of it to make room for our garden. Obviously we do not want to kill it completely. Maybe we could transplant it? OK. The tree is as tall as our two-story house! Luckily, my neighbour was outside at the same time and we discussed various possible options for the tree. We measured this way and that; we talked about ideal pruning times and could we take cuttings and “transplant” that way? In the end, we decided more research was required. It was clear to us that we could not begin any pruning or “transplanting” yesterday as the tree is in full bloom. We needed to buy some time to allow the tree to grow through its blooming season and to do some more research. We settled on planting the seedlings in containers for now and reassessing in a few weeks time. Yay! Less pressure and work in the short-term!
Just as well. As we were finalizing these decisions, my girls arrived home. “Can we go shopping?” Oh, yeah. Forgot about that one. I had been pushing off the complaints of “I don’t have anything to wear” since just after Pesach. I bought them clothes last summer, didn’t I? I know, I know. They grow. They need something fresh. So, on the promise of a trip to the dollar store for my middle son, we dropped my eldest son at science class and headed for the shops. Two hours later, we exited the store with the needed items, including school pants for next year for my middle son, and the essential football for my baby :).
And finally, after supper, I learned about Sara Imeinu with my daughter and my niece. This is my life, and I imagine yours too. In the course of one day, I went from minimalistic-at-one-with-the-earth to materialistic-ooh-look-at-all-the-pretty-clothes to Torah and lessons from our matriarch. What a yo-yo!
Although, for me, in a funny kind of way, it all makes sense. The Torah balances it all for us. We learned that Sara was a very beautiful woman. The Torah tells us this in several ways, in several different places. We can say, then, that a woman is entitled to appreciate and strive for her beauty (to a degree). We also learned that Hashem blessed Sara’s dough with abundance. No matter how many people she fed, and she fed many, her food was fresh and plentiful. She used the material and physical bounty Hashem provided, but she elevated it by publicly ackowledging its source, and using it to connect others to Hashem. Sara Imeinu was able to maintain a perfect balance between the mundane and the spiritual. A lesson for us all.
Life is a balancing act. For someone who tends to veer towards the extremes like me, this is a lesson worth repeating, and repeating, and repeating.