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

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Welcome to the {Green} Nursery

By Micky Wolf

Many of us can attest to its having been a long, harsh winter. And now, midway through the season of Lent, the drastic fluctuations of temperatures, light and dark, clouds and clear sky, seem to be never-ending. We sigh and occasionally wonder, “Has spring really arrived to stay for awhile?” Yes, we are promised, by our Good Great God who ongoingly creates life in and around us.

Aware of the seasonal changes, my beloved and I recently took a Sunday afternoon to assemble a small, greenhouse growing system in an out-of-the-way spot in our basement. As I mixed the special starter soil with water for the proper consistency and filled each of the little cubicles, he carefully grasped tweezers and patiently placed two or three tiny, tiny seeds in each compartment. Of course, there was much more to this activity than met the eye. We savored our time with one another, appreciating the kind of marital camaraderie that is sure to manifest when two first-borns decide to do something together.

The unfolding days since our adventures in planting are providing many opportunities to consider and ponder how our Creator God is at work, not only in His earthly creation but in our lives as well.

Faithful time and attentionin order for the seeds to sprout, they need a regular schedule of light and moisture which means long hours under the warm glow of a high intensity bulb and a regular spritz of water so the hair-like strands emerging from the soil do not dry out.

Seems God works in much the same way with us. Early in our Christian journey, His warmth is ever-present, the darkness is minimal. He showers us with consolation at the perfect moment and is wonderfully generous with His gifts of love and mercy. He encourages us “to be and to receive”. We taste every drop of sweetness with a grateful heart.

Stretching and growingwe observe a pair of leaves, small, yet distinct enough that we can begin to recognize which plant is which. And then the two become four. As instructed, we raise the bar and slowly begin to decrease the ‘time under the lights’. We still mist the soil, but now it is obvious the seedlings need a bit less hovering and maintenance time.

Seems God works in much the same way with us. Our Creator knows exactly when it is time to step back a bit and let us begin to stretch and grow our spiritual, Christ-like wings. He never rushes us and He certainly doesn’t abandon us. He simply gives us what we need in order to become less dependent on the warm and fuzzy aspects of His nature.

Removing the things of youthit has now been several weeks since planting day. Some of the seedlings are tall, some shorter and robust, a few appear to have barely changed in size. There are variations of color in the leaves and stems, depending on the variety of herb or vegetable.  We need to continue to keep the growing medium moist, however, we are gradually decreasing the hours under the light.

Seems God works in much the same way with us. The Divine, in His desire to have us grow into wholeness and holiness, carefully and slowly weans us from the supports of our childhood, the things which may have proved so helpful in our spiritual youth. He longs for us to understand He is the Source of all. The night increases, the natural light of the day is to be sufficient. As we persevere, wondrous things are happening. In our striving to love and serve Him, others, and ourselves, we enter the rest that refreshes, that we might stay the course.

Into the great outdoorsin another six weeks or so, the trays of young seedlings will be strong enough to be planted outdoors. At the same time, if we hope to give them the best opportunity to mature, we need to take certain precautions, even at that stage. Weather, insects, four-legged creatures, the intense heat of summer, will destroy them without protection. Water is vital. Fertilizer will assure proper nutrients. Fencing is necessary in some cases to keep the predators at bay.

Seems God works in much the same way with us. As we mature and begin to step out into the world around us, we will encounter numerous challenges, yet the Divine is our provision and source for all that will be needed. Soaking ourselves in Scripture will be our best defense against the snares and temptations of the enemy of our human nature. Partaking regularly of the sacraments will feed our spirit and soul. Breaking bread with like-minded companions will encourage and strengthen our hearts for service.

Living the fullness of life as gifted to us by our Creator God is to enter into an amazing and fulfilling adventure. Doesn’t mean there won’t be pain or suffering, sadness, days of questioning our mission or purpose. All of these experiences will form the essence of a similarly human but unique journey--womb to tomb—for each of us.

As the Master Gardener goes about His business, may we place our hope and trust in the One who invites us into ever-deepening intimacy and relationship with him. In this way, we shall grow and become all that He created us to be, now and forever. 

Do I trust in the faithfulness of God to meet all my needs?

How do I feel about stretching and growing?

When it feels good and when it is painful?

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