I look forward to January every year for it is the time when many catalogs displaying heirloom seeds arrive in my mailbox. As a farmer/gardener, this brings me good joy as the careful planning process begins. I use the word careful in the context that although I want to plant so much, I must limit my decisions. You see, once I have completed the last leg of my educational trajectory, scheduled for the early or middle part of this year, it is my desire to move farther out to the country. Far enough to maintain a quiet life, but yet close enough to attend church, see a play or participate in chosen communities. This may not be immediate, as it is continuous work as plan. Yet, the idea of sweet white heirloom tomato salsa is fairly fun to think about. This is one vegetable I make sure I grow each year.
I marvel and wonder on these simple things, and I am so happy I was created as an easy going being. I think of unfussy people, and how pleasant it is to be in their company. My current thoughts take me to a conversation (approved to be shared) I had with a dear friend several years ago. Though many saw her as a strikingly beautiful woman, she always seemed to effortlessly hold on to humility and kindness. Three years into our friendship, she reunited with her high school sweetheart. A few of her then friends did not believe he was the right one for her, based on the fact they thought he was not attractive or successful enough. In their own way, they wholeheartedly thought they were protecting her. During the chaos, she invited me to tea to ask my pastoral and friendship opinions. But honestly, looking back, I know now, she wanted to sit with someone who listens. And, listened, I did. Throughout the conversation, one thing that truly impressed me, was this statement made by her “I love him because he is simple and uncomplicated. He is the same loving, caring, and compassionate person, I fell in love with many years ago.” They were married a year later.
These words she shared still live in my heart to this day. On her sad moments, I often remind her of this. On my challenging days, I commonly think of this…God is simple, uncomplicated, loving, caring, and compassionate. Why would I place anything or anyone above Him in my life path? This, a question, I frequently present to friends who have chosen different routes for their spiritual life.
I was called to help my friend, and I did by listening. She helped me by speaking on the beauty of authentic love without awareness of my own personal struggles at that time. A reminder of we all have our own crosses to bear, our own seeds to plant, and our own growth to experience, and to express. Everything collaborates as God’s wonders; seeds planted on the inside and as a farmer/gardener, the seeds I plant on the outside. It’s nice to be part of this grandeur of newness. When good seeds are planted, the rewards are endless. The dichotomy of both elements of growth-inner and outer-bequeaths God’s brilliance in His creations. In the simultaneous plantings of both, I usually feel most alive.
Happily, it begets me to remember that the heirloom seeds I plant each year, are the same type my ancestors grew. My paternal Irish great-grandfather planted several kinds of tomato. My maternal German-Jamaican grandmother planted healthy greens; lettuces and cabbages, mostly. My maternal West Indian grandfather grew peppers; he loved habanero! I plant a chocolate heirloom variety. And, my maternal Jamaican great-grandmother, planted onion of all types.
Each year, I seed at least one variety of these plants to honor them; those the people of my parentage, who praised God daily! The examples they left me are imprinted in my heart. They did not have heirloom catalogs to peruse on a wintry day, because each seed was picked and dried by hand. Yet, the excitement they showed each planting season, still lives within me. Excitement to grow food! The food, which eventually, prepared for each member in our family.
The loving and creative expression of God wants to continuously live through me. Even when I am eager to express my own reliable preferences and pleasures, he guides me toward my best. Occasionally, existence involves reacquaintance with the day, week or life before now. The “what could have been”, instead of the “what is”. The “what is” of this present life. This very moment of Emmanuel-God with Us– (Matthew 1:22-23). The loving divine confidante of all things, in all things, and through all things… here, right here, willing and able. No impediments! Where genuine beauty and love reside.
The aromatic alchemy of cooked produce from past growing seasons, are comforting to my soul. The breads made from the heirloom wheat I grow, are far less stripped than the wheat grown today. The eggs from friends’ farm are so nutritious. They are warm to the touch. I praise God for the Leghorns and Anconas that lay them. They are simple and uncomplicated. They understand their roles and what they are meant to do. I see God through them! He gives, and he gives. It’s my choice…eggs to incubate or eggs for a protein-rich breakfast. Either way, He gives…
For me, honoring God on a daily basis comes in several forms, and one of these is to view and grow the wonderful original plants he gave us. In awe, I turn the pages. I sip tea, and turn another. I plant to feed my family and friends. It’s as simple and uncomplicated as this! God feeds me through his creations, words, and with his unconditional love for me. His processes are indeed, simple and uncomplicated, like that!
As I move into the this new year, I am elated for tomorrow. The inner growth produced in 2019, quietly awaits the opportunity to filter into a known place . With no trans-formative itinerary planned, each day will reveal the rhythm of the year 2020. I look forward to the adventures of leaving what’s comfortable, to loose my protective shell, and then returning to my whole-self; my God-self! No matter where I go, I know He remains!
May this new year offer you all expression of God. May it bring you more of His love, kindness, peace, joy, and prosperity!
Father thank you for your divine connection, which blankets my soul. Thank you for the life you’ve offered my ancestors. We’ll sure pick seeds and grow beautiful plants in your garden when we meet again. Father, thank you for re-birth and new growth through the birth of your son Christ Jesus. He is awesome, amazing, and so loving. But of course, you know this.
In this new year, 2020, I am lifted by your guidance to do better than the year before. Father, I am keen to give and share your genuine love with others, and to receive your love just the same. I listen to you, and embrace all that you are. Father, I worship only thee.
With all my love,