I’ll be honest with you…I don’t have much of a green thumb (aka; gardening). At least, I don’t think I do. Living in the city my entire life hasn’t really given me much of an opportunity to hone my farming skills. Although I absolutely love the idea of having a house one day, complete with a vegetable garden. There’s just something about being able to eat what you’ve worked so hard for and getting to harvest it. I think there is something very honourable in that. Which is why I have so much respect for farmers; anybody that raises and/or grows the food we eat. They’re amazing people!
My mother has a knack for gardening. As did her mother (my grandmother) and so on and so forth. My mom’s side of the family are German Mennonites. They know a thing or two about farming. They’ve perfected it over the generations. A part of my heritage I am very proud of. My mom had a garden when we lived in our house years ago where she would grow her own veggies, including tomatoes and make her own pasta sauce etc. Everything tastes so much better when it’s homemade don’t you think?
Quite a few years ago, I decided that I would embrace my Mennonite heritage and see if those gardening skills were indeed, hereditary. (Or perhaps they had skipped a generation?) I decided to start small and I bought a variety of seeds for herbs and spices to plant in teacups. Rosemary, oregano, parsley and others I don’t quite recall anymore. I was very excited to see what (if anything) would happen. I bought good soil, read the instructions on how deep to plant each type of seed, covered them up with more soil and placed my little teacups (carefully labelled) in the windowsill. And then I waited.
…yup, more waiting!
Have you ever watched something trying to grow? It isn’t very exciting. It’s actually mind numbingly dull. Even though I knew the instructions said that I wouldn’t see any sprouts for at least a few weeks, I would still look at them several times a day…every day…just in case. Because, you know, the instructions could be wrong and maybe I just happened to buy little “go-getter” type of seeds that were in far better shape than those “other guys”. They could sprout early, right?
After a few weeks I was starting to think my “green thumbing” had failed. Maybe I watered them too much and they drowned. Maybe I gave them too much sun and they scorched to death. Maybe I’m just a horrible Mennonite girl who can’t farm like the rest of her people. (Oh, the horror!)
Until, one day I went to check on my cups of dirt and did a double take. Is that what I think it is? Do mine eyes deceive me? Is that foliage I see?! It couldn’t have been more than one millimetre tall, but there it was…my little sprout had sprouted! I was SO excited and SO proud! I wasn’t a total failure after all. I did something right. I checked in on all of my teacups and sure enough, from that day forward, one by one and little by little, they all began to push through the soil and greet the day. And as time went on (as it often does), those little sprouts seemed to grow faster and faster until one glorious day I could smell the oregano and the rosemary and all the other scents just by walking past the dining room where they were kept. I had succeeded. It was such a proud moment for me.
Part of the reason why gardening is so much work and requires so much patience is because of the process it takes to go from a seed to seeing any form of life. While we till the soil and wait above ground for the first signs of life, there is actually a lot going on below the surface. In order for the seed to serve it’s purpose, it has to be buried. Then it has to break open. And further still, it now has the task of finding it’s way through the dark, pushing through the soil until it cracks the surface. When you think about it, that’s a lot of hard work for such a little seed. But it’s necessary. In order for there to be any form of life, there has to be this same process. And that goes for us in our lives as well.
As I write this, it’s officially the first day of spring! And with spring, comes new life. In a few weeks, blossoms will appear on trees. Leaves will start to bud. The grass will get greener. Everything will appear new again. None of this new life is possible however, without the long winter months of being buried underground, waiting for the right moment in the spring when it’s time to break through to the surface.
I know in my life there have been times where it has felt like a really long winter. Waiting, working, being patient or even at times feeling broken, just like a seed that’s been planted in the ground. But without the dark, cool, isolation of the soil, without the brokenness of the seed, and without the fighting and the pushing required to reach the surface, there would be no life. There would be no fruit…no fragrance.
The season of Spring teaches us that no matter what you have been through, or perhaps what you are still going through, there is new life. There is new hope. New joy. New peace. There is something to look forward to. A clean slate. A second chance. Perhaps when we embrace the process, no matter how uncomfortable it may seem at the time, it’s actually leading us to something better. Something we may have never realized that we even needed.
There is a saying I heard awhile ago that says, “They tried to bury me. They did not know that I was a seed.”
Sometimes, the things in life that were meant to hurt us, actually was the very thing that caused us to become strong. That cause us to grow and to eventually flourish.
Just knowing that it is finally spring time, made me feel very thankful today. Thankful for new seasons. For renewed hope in the future. There’s just something about springtime that seems to change everything. That puts a little pep in your step. The sun is shining a little longer every day. The air isn’t so crisp like it was even a few weeks ago. The birds come out of hiding and sing a little louder. The last of the winter blahs seem to finally melt away and all is new again. And anything is possible.
P.S; Just an update on those teacups…the ones I was so proud of? Yeah, those teacups…
Well, it is with great sadness that I feel the need to inform you that not long after my plants had grown to quite an impressive height (An entire FOOT to be exact!) my teacups met their demise. You see, my cat I owned at the time, decided to jump up onto the windowsill and yup, you guessed it! My precious teacups all fell down like the walls of Jericho! All of my hard work came to an end. My cats name was Spaz. (With a name like that I should have known he was capable of such atrocities!) Needless to say, I died a little on the inside that day and my affection for cats to this day is still quite limited and I haven’t owned one since. I also have yet to attempt to start over and grow anything else. Perhaps one day I’ll get the nerve to try again…