Monday, May 19, 2014

Growing Season



“I’m feeling the invitation to sow seeds,” I said to a friend and mentor.  

//

Every year my husband plants the garden.  

The children swarm around him like insects, digging and dumping seeds and then, later, when what has been done has been done, I tend it, making the most or more of what is. 

As a “maximizer,” this is what I do best, improving upon what is.  I’m not a starter, not a planter, I do not want to face the blank space alone, to feel the weight of all of that potential. 

But as I told my friend, I recently felt God pushing me on that. 

//

The key to sowing, is the open hand, the willingness to let the potential and possibility of each seed fall and scatter; the key to sowing is in surrender and letting go, then waiting to see. 

No wonder I’m not keen on it. 

//

“But what if ALL of these seeds grow?  It'll be too much.” My voice rises in challenge to the task at hand.

God and I stand in the open field beside our house, freshly tilled soil at our feet, rolling hills scalloping the sky in the distance.

“It’s not the plants I’m worried about Kelly, open your hand,” God replies. 

“There must be a right way to do this,” I add, turning toward the house, “Let me go check on-line.  Maybe it’s still too cold.”

“Hey!” God says, with firmness now, “plant the seeds.”

Back at the garden now I bend, seeds in hand, but hesitating still, “How deep should they be?  How far apart?  I don’t know enough.”

God reaches down to where my fist is frozen shut, sweaty, and pulls my fingers open.  The seeds fall in a clump, some sticking to my hand.  

We continue in this way. 

God shakes seeds from the paper packets into my open hand, the impossibly tiny carrot seeds, the large, lumpy cucumber and zucchini.  Then we bend and my fist that closes reflexively is gently pried open and we sow the seeds together.

“See how the ground catches and holds them?” God says, “See how many there are?”

God moves steadily as though the seeds will never run out, as though it isn’t where or how they land that matters most, but simply the fact of throwing them. 

Slowly I begin to believe it too, that this motion of sowing, scattering what is and waiting with faith, THIS is what matters most. 

A steady rain starts just as the last seeds are in and God and I stand watching from the porch. 

The sowing is done.  Some seeds will grow, others will not.  Some will be food for the birds and squirrels, others were duds to begin with and some will grow into the hardy plants that will feed our family through summer and fall. 

But, for now, it’s the sowing that matters, the opening of the hand, again and again. 

//

Later in the season, I excel at the close-handed jobs – the quick slashing of the hoe, the tight grasping and sharp yank needed to pull a weed out by its roots.  Pleased with my work, I look up to see if God is watching me. 

Lounging in the shade with a tall glass of iced tea at his side and book in hand, God seems unimpressed. 

“’Lotta weeds out here,“ I call.

God glances my way and smiles before returning to his read.

I continue, sweating and slashing at weeds, taming the wild garden until the blisters rise and break in the soft flesh of my palms.  Exhausted at last and a little peeved with God’s nonchalance, I toss myself down on the grass nearby. 

A few minutes pass before God speaks, “You are good at those things, good at tending the chaos, at discerning between weed and vine.  You tend your garden well.”  

There’s a heavy pause as the long-sought praise sinks in. 

“But I am concerned,” God says, the words unfolding slowly like a flower's bud, “with the one necessary thing.”  

//

So it goes, year after year.  Some years the garden flourishes, some years it does not and most years it is a terrible mixed-up mess somewhere between the two, but always it starts with the one necessary thing, the opening of my hand.  

What part of gardening do you prefer?  Planting, tending, harvest?

This post is linked with Playdates With God , Unforced Rhythms and Trusting Tuesdays for OneWord 365  (my OneWord this year is 'Open').

11 comments:

  1. Gosh this is beautiful. I love how you and God stand and look out at the garden together. I need to do that more. Know that God is with me in that way. I'm your neighbor at Unforced Rhythms.

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    1. Thanks, Michelle. Yes, I feel like writing about God helps me know God in a usually surprising and unexpected way - even though it's just in my mind, God somehow finds ways to break out of my little boxes.

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  2. "Unless a seed falls to the ground and dies, it remains a single seed..."

    Nice post, Kelly.

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    1. Thanks Shawn. It's the falling and dying bit that stinks. Ya know?

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  3. Oh, my, Kelly...God keeps telling me to sow...the results are not my job...it is His...you can probably guess, harvesting is my favorite part...yes, I have much to learn...Grateful for God's patience...Great imagery and truth here :)

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  4. Ohhhhhhhhh, Kelly, a gardener and a seed sower--your husband is a kindred spirit. I'm SO very behind, tho', getting my seeds in the ground here in the Pacific NW and I fear it could be too late. However summer ish weather lasts til October here, and I figure better late than never.
    If we wait for conditions to be just right, we'll never plant, eh?
    So many metaphors in the garden...

    p.s. I noticed you have a new watercolor painting on your blog header--it's beautiful!

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    1. We're still planting here too and quite behind since there was no garden plot here when we moved it. I'm not sure how much we'll be able to get to grow in the hastily tilled plot. But, we continue to plant.
      Yes, I can't even remember now how I got that picture, some free website helped me transform it I think. Thanks for noticing.

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  5. Love it, Kelly. Love the way you portray God, the way you show yourself. Maybe even that knife-edge where He ends and you begin ... wherever that may be.

    And I love the word OPEN. Oh, I feel the Spirit-wind in that.

    Thanks for linking with us at Unforced Rhythms.

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  6. Kelly, there is so much to learn from gardening? And here I mean metaphorically in terms of life and our walk with God. Love how "open" is ... coming to life :) (can't help gardening metaphor myself.). Thanks for linking with Trusting Tuesday!

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  7. This is great! I've been gardening for about six years, and I keep finding new spiritual applications in it.

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