Dig In

June 1, 2021 | Jaci Miller

“I think I need to go in the dirt.” My barefoot niece innocently stared up at us from my sister’s newly planted garden. She had helped plant carrot seeds and tomatoes and zucchini from the edge of the garden but stayed outside the frame.

Now the dirt called to her.

A little late for that, kiddo. Garden’s planted.

I smiled. Hopefully she could get a little dirty after seeds took root.

There’s something precious about dirt. It grows what feeds us — food for our bellies and flowers for the soul.

Children romp in dirt; it begs them to dig and dive in. The squidgy feel of rich humus between their toes and fingers appeals to something deep inside of them. Though regarded as messy by adults, something essential exists in the ground. More, even, than vitamins, minerals, and antibodies. Children intuitively know that we are deeply connected to the earth.

Created on Day 3 of the creation story, the land provided God with the literal foundation to sustain plants, animals and His most treasured creation, humans.

Ask any gardener — the soil gives life. And it was from the soil that God gave us life. Genesis 2:7 says, “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

For whatever reason, God did not speak mankind into existence as He had done with the light. No, His process included the soil. He paired his very breath — His inmost self — with dirt. Why?

I’m not sure. But I have an idea. Perhaps, our Father wanted to show us that our very being was holy. This act of breathing into His chosen medium means that this medium mattered. He didn’t breathe into an orange or a rock or a wayward warthog. He exhaled into a dirt sculpture. God intended us to be intricately connected to the Earth.

Every physical thing we have or will ever have springs from this planet. This gigantic ball of dust is set apart by God. Making it sacred. A giver of life, modeled after its Creator. And since we are made from holy breath and consecrated earth in His image, we are made to be holy too. Every part of us, even our frail physical form that returns to dust when we die, is called to holiness.

As we enter into gardening season and celebrate how God allows us to join with Him in caring for creation, consider the dirt. Look again at what it provides. Look again at what it means.

And maybe, just a little, dig in.