Friday, May 25, 2012

My Accidental Garden

                At first look, the space at the front of the mission looks like any vacant lot. A gravel surface with rebar columns at equal intervals on the perimeter, it stands “empty”, a reminder of the effects of the earthquake 2 ½ years ago.  Upon closer inspection, one will notice that the gravel has laid untouched long enough that has become dirt that is capable of sustaining the growth of a plethora of “green things”.

There is moderate foot traffic across the lost, as the cistern is in the center, and it is in close proximity to the kitchen, showers, and laundry “room”, which all require a steady amount of water throughout the day.  It also serves as the “dumping ground” for leftover cooking ingredients not needed to complete meals, thus lending itself to the regrowth of “recycled” fruits and vegetables. But it also hosts a whole lot of other vegetation that may or may not be edible or useful in any capacity. As I intentionally started tending the few identifiable plants (tomatoes), I got to thinking about the parallel between the accidental garden and our own lives, particularly as it relates to the parable of the seeds in Matthew 13:3.  Here are a few things I have observed:

1.       Seed thrown on the foot path: The seed of Truth has to take root in order to grow. If it falls on the foot path, with it’s steady flow of traffic (i.e. entertaining everyone else’s thoughts, opinions, philosophies without forming your own), it will get lost in all constant movement and will not have a relevant impact. Nothing will grow in those areas.

2.       Seed thrown on shallow soil: It looks like a good place, it even produces growth. The seed may even produce a few leaves, and look green and healthy. But if the seed only stays close to the surface and never develops a strong root system, growth becomes stunted and never produces fruit.

3.       Seed thrown among thorns (weeds): Good plants can grow among weeds, but eventually it will either be overtaken by the weeds and die, or become so hidden that nobody can even see it's there.
4.       Seed put on good soil: Good seed + good soil doesn’t always = good fruit. It takes time and effort to nurture the seed as it grows, to the keep the weeds out and provide support to bear the weight of fruit. If it’s just left on its own it will grow, and even look good, but the fruit it produces will not ripen fully in a reasonable time frame.

5.       Sometimes things start growing, and we don’t even know what they are or how they got there, much less if they will produce good fruit. Sometimes we need other people to tell us if it’s good or not, and help us pull out up the bad stuff.

I’ve been pondering all these things over the past few weeks, as I endeavor to change the vacant lot, and my own life, from an accidental garden into an intentional garden that flourishes and produces all kinds of good fruit (and veggies!)…

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