Tomato Seeds and Soul Tending

Tomato Seeds and Soul Tending

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I am a gardener. I find the process of tending plants – from seed to sprout, greenhouse to ground, flower to fruit – to be deeply nourishing to my soul. This has been profoundly true this season, as death claimed the life of a dear soul friend and gardening buddy just as she would have been starting tomato seeds (an endeavor at which she excelled). The task, as I see it, was left to me. Part of my grief work, this.

On Monday of the week called Holy, I filled seed trays with growing medium, tenderly pressed the seeds into said soil, applied appropriate amounts of water, and situated the seed-laden trays on the warming pad. I then immersed myself in the tasks and graces of the week . . . It was the morning of Holy Saturday when I next glanced toward the trays. The seeds had not only sprouted, but had grown too tall, too fast! And this on the very day of Pat’s memorial service. I vowed to replant, and did so the Monday after Easter.

It is an unsettling season, this. I do believe we all sense it . . . The replanting of my tomato seeds is, perhaps, symbolic. Unexpected was their rapid germination. And unnoticed in the midst of the Holy Week schedule. And so disappointing. I had hoped for better. For the memory of my friend . . . Life is uncontrollable. As is death. Seeds do have a life of their own. And I cannot even perfectly control the conditions . . .

So. The seed of truth. I am reminded – again – that I am not God. And I must forgive myself for that. And seek to remain present and engaged in the way things are. Mistakes made – own what is mine; release the rest. Tomato seeds and starts – tend what is; refrain from wishing for what is not. Rain on my “day off” – reflect; write; embrace it. And pay attention:

The deer twins, born last year, are back, grazing around the house once again – I will attend to their timing, they who embody the affirmation of “safe space” in the unfolding story of my journey with God.

The hummingbird has returned – spied resting on the power line in my line of sight during morning prayers. She, on break, invites me to remember the call to rest.

The lettuce is growing – the tomatoes are, too — and the peppers are living into their 4” pots . . . I shall dwell on the grace and wonder of life and its power over and through. In the seed, and in the interaction of soil, water, darkness, light, and heat with that seed, is the truth of life. Mysterious. Messy. Magnificently simple. Maddeningly complex . . . And monumentally victorious (remember the Easter proclamation).

Therefore – I trust. I listen. I replant. I tend. I pay attention. I do the next right thing. I hope. I love. I forgive. I live. Now.

Won’t you join me?

“Our only job is to cling to God with total trust.”    — Julian of Norwich

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