When we are outside, my daughter Adoni loves nothing more than to excavate, scoop, and pour dirt til her heart’s content. I watch her and am reminded of my own childhood and the hours I spent in my grandma’s garden.

I remember packing newly planted pansies into the soil and how her glossy tomatoes appeared as if they might explode from the vine. I also remember how endless a row felt when you were hoeing it and how your hand ached and blistered along the way. No matter the challenges in the garden, to this day I love the sound of tools scraping the soil, the smell of the earth when it’s watered and the way it feels cool against my skin.

One afternoon, I told Adoni to grab her shovel and bucket, and as usual, she came running. However, five minutes into digging she pouted, “I want to dig in the sand not the dirt.” A recent trip to the lake had taught her that sand was much easier to dig through. I immediately realized my darling daughter had begun her own journey in discovering what it has taken me decades to learn. The best things in life require great effort.

How was I going to explain to my three year old that though the sand may be easier to dig, the soil is more fruitful? This soil will hold seed, come spring, that will yield a harvest for our eyes and table. It’s much harder to dig but far more valuable.

Learning to do hard things comes with great difficulty, but the joy of giving your very best effort in an endeavor, and seeing it yield, immeasurably outweighs it. I can’t wait to begin planting with her in the spring so that she too can experience the gratification of working that stubborn soil and witnessing new life emerge from it. And, I pray I meet such endeavors with equal tenacity.

Antonette Weatherly is a wife, mother and minister who lives in the Sherman area. You can find her weekly serving at Victory Life Church. She can be reached at antonetteweatherly@gmail.com.