The Seeds We Plant
We moved into the church parsonage here in eastern Washington late October of last year. It’s about fifty years old but an adequate house situated only about three blocks from the church where I am serving as interim pastor. The front and back yards are small, with landscaped flower beds wrapping around the house and garage. No one told us what was planted in the beds. No one told us what to expect once winter ended. In the last few weeks at least a hundred bulbs have broken through the thawed ground and although there has been no bloom, I am confident that soon this house we call home for a few more months will be surrounded by color, bathed in the hues of spring. We live in a beauty imagined and created by the hearts and hands of others.
In this season of birth and new growth and in a place gardened by others, I am reminded of the power of planting seeds. I am reminded of the hope that emerges in the hearts of planters, how diligently farmers and gardeners rake and plow and dig and make way for life. Every year lovers of the earth go to nurseries and stores, purchase the seeds or bulbs that offer possibilities, and in faith, with care and hope, drop them into the earth in joyful anticipation. Most plant gardens for themselves but some folks, like the anonymous members of this church, hearty ones who love to landscape and care for church properties, plant their bulbs and seeds for others.
It is the same in spiritual gardens. We plant seeds of kindness, faith, hope, joy, love, peace, and patience in our own hearts, hoping to enjoy the bounty of our work and desire. We plant seeds within our souls, toiling with tools to grow spiritual gifts that we look forward to see come to fruition. We pray and study and meditate and practice for us to become patient, to become kind, to become people of peace and love. It is the harvest of our work for our own souls. But we also plant seeds in the hearts of others, in temporary places, in organizations, places of worship, in souls of those who may or may not ever know our names. We plant seeds without having to reap the bounty. We plant seeds without needing to watch the garden grow. We plant seeds letting the hope of what might come, the power of what may spring forth, the joy we expect for someone else, to be reason enough to keep planting.
I’m sure I could ask the church membership who planted these bulbs that grow in perfectly-spaced rows, filling the beds in the front and back yards of the parsonage and someone would give me names; but likely, I will not. Instead as they pop and bloom I will think of the people in my life who planted seeds within my soul and never saw what grew. I will think of grandmothers and teachers, the parents of my adolescent friends, the authors of books that shaped me, the countless words of wisdom from others that fell like seeds in my soul and have finally begun to bloom. I will think of planting my own seeds, being kind to strangers, writing words of hope, working for justice and peace, and learn how to be content with just the planting. It takes faith to grow a garden you don’t get to harvest. It takes faith to plant a seed. I know because I live this season in the center of someone else’s hopes for spring.