"Do now, do now, what you will wish to have done when your moment comes to die." [St. Angela Merici]

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Grow Where You Are Planted

By Micky Wolf

A scant lump of soil—although plenty of rain the past couple of weeks—not the greatest conditions for sure, but seems being stuck in a big bucket was not going to keep these guys from growing. Once the clumps of grasses are solidly established in new ground (were recently released from the confining, temporary, accommodations) they will eventually stand tall, sporting full, feathery plumes of pastel shades of green, yellow, and plum. 

As we considered where to situate these perennials, the exhortation “bloom where you are planted” came to mind. We can certainly see this concept in action if we nurture flowers or have a vegetable garden. Hopefully, we can also see it at work in our own lives, as well others. 

Beneath the surface…

For the most part, you and I don’t usually get to pick the spot where we initially put down roots, certainly not within the first days or years of our lives. It is usually parents who make that decision. To that end, we may land on “soil” loaded with good, healthy, nutrients, or ground that is rocky, or maybe porous and sandy. But it is amazing (how like the grasses in the buckets) what God can accomplish with, from our perspective, seems to be so little.

If our beginnings are determined by others, there will definitely come a time when we have more influence on the situation. If life began on solid ground, we may, as young adults, choose similar habitation. On the other hand, if things were less healthy for the continuing growth and development of our body, mind, emotions, and spirit, we may choose to put our roots down in a totally different environment.

Care and feeding…

Our numerous pots of flowers and herbs and our small vegetable plot need regular attention to help assure good production. Most of the attention is required before the first, tiny blooms ever appear on any of the plants. The same is true of you and me. Yet it is also a reality human beings don’t always receive what they need from their earthly caretakers. What happens then?

I truly believe not one among us would deliberately or in cruelty choose to be neglectful of those bestowed to our care, but it does happen. Even so, isn’t it a true miracle of growing and blooming to see someone emerge from what seem the darkest of circumstances to become a positive, joy-filled, person?

Just as good beginnings aren’t necessarily a guarantee for showy, bloom-filled endings, there is certainly no reason to believe that with a rocky start, the plant—or the person—will not produce a plethora of gorgeous color or creative genius, given some time and loving attention. People are important in the care and feeding of young life, but the wherewithal of our great, Good God to provide nourishment can far exceed our intentions and actions, good, bad or otherwise.

Source and supplement…

If we hope to continue to grow, that we might produce lovely blooms or healthy fruit, we must make the choice, at some point, to decide who or what is going to be the source of our provision. Will we rely on our own intelligence and strength to determine what is good for us? Will we decide we are more interested in gorging self with the empty calories of short-term gratification? Or will we choose instead to chew slowly and thoroughly on the bites of solid, vitamin-rich nuggets of God’s word, the Truth which always fills and satisfies the emptiest places of our heart and spirit?

Our flowers and gardens thrive on the blend of supplements we sprinkle on the soil or add to the container when we gently water the ground around their stems. Just as the chemist knows how to formulate the proper nutrients for each particular plant, so to the Master Gardener knows what each of us need. However, if we choose to brew our own conglomeration of additives and seasonings, apart from His guidance and direction, we may well cause serious harm or stunt the growing process. And it is most of all—a process. Primary leaves, secondary leaves, roots and so forth. For you and me—small steps, larger steps, each unfolding in a manner consistent with becoming who God has created us to be.

Seasons and successes…

Not every bud on the flower turns into a gorgeous bloom. Not every bloom on the vegetable turns into a blue ribbon, award winning, tomato or squash. Some will be small, yet a delight in their own right. Others will stop growing or wither away before our eyes. We may wonder what we did wrong. Or failed to do. We might try something different the next gardening season. We may put the plant in a different location or adjust the supplements. Or simply realize that even with our best efforts, certain vegetation will not thrive in our particular setting.

The good news for you and me is God views “growing and blooming” from an entirely different perspective. The Divine gardening schedule of seasons and successes has very little to do with our human understanding. In fact, the more we can accept that He knows what we need and what is best for our growth and development, the better. Put another way—we need to simply “be”.

As human beings created in the image and likeness of God, our potential to produce much of anything rests in our willingness to make the choice to surrender to the Divine Will. If we can embrace that Truth, not only will we become ever lovelier—and more loving—we will continue to grow and be fruitful in helping to bring about the greater Kingdom of God here on Earth.

Am I more interested in blooming than growing? Why?

What is beneath the surface of my thoughts and feelings?

What, or who, do I rely on as my source of care and feeding?

How do I feel about trusting all the seasons of my life to God?     

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