the invitation to sow seeds,” I said to a friend and mentor.
my husband plants the garden.
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
“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
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.
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.
the plants I’m worried about Kelly, open your hand,” God replies.
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.”
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.”
down to where my fist is frozen shut, sweaty, and pulls my fingers open. The seeds fall in a clump, some sticking to
We continue in
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?”
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.
begin to believe it too, that this motion of sowing, scattering what is and
waiting with faith, THIS is what matters most.
rain starts just as the last seeds are in and God and I stand watching from the
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.
now, it’s the sowing that matters, the opening of the hand, again and
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.
the shade with a tall glass of iced tea at his side and book in hand, God seems
weeds out here,“ I call.
my way and smiles before returning to his read.
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.
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?