I’m planting a garden. Well not quite, but I have dug out a bed and spent the weekend weeding the front plots (still more weeds to go, I’m afraid). On Monday I went with my oldest daughter and got seeds from the hardware store. And today I’m planting seeds in seedling trays.
The sun that was here on the weekend has disappeared and the ground is wet and muddy. My front lawn is over tall and when it dries out a little I’ll be out mowing. Despite having lived in the North West for a few years I’m not a big fan of rain. I like the green and growth but hate the wet and cold (yes Midwesterners I get cold in much warmer weather than you go swimming in). I am hoping a garden will change my perspective. I love Luci Shaw’s short but pogninant poem Forecast:
changes my feelings
And so I set to work planting seeds: lettuce, beans, zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes, peas, herbs. I don’t have much of a green thumb. Actually I have an unexperienced thumb. Sure I’ve pulled weeds and helped friends in their gardens(even worked for a landscaper one summer) but I have never had a garden of my own. I am excited about what new growth comes with planting.
In other ways, I am trying to attend to what God might be planting in me. If you know my story, this past year has been hard. Never in my life have I had difficulty getting a job. Yet here I am with education and skill and a pretty good work ethic and no gainful employment. Most of the posts on this blog are upbeat and I have used this year to further my education and develop personally. But a week does not go by, where I don’t sit down feeling paralyzed by anxiety. Three kids and a wife and not much cash is frightening. I feel inadequate, useless and scared that I can’t provide better for my family. My wife has a great part time job, but that is are only income. In the midst of this, God has provided for us and cared for us in incredible ways and this has been a season of me learning to trust. Still I long for satisfying work and the ability to breathe easy.
By training and calling what I really want to do is ministry. Not getting a job as a pastor at every single church I have applied for has deflated my confidence and been an occasion for self doubt. Am I doing what I should be doing if I can’t even get a job? Living in sleepy suburbia has also been challenging. I believe in incarnational ministry and you plop me down in a city, any city, and I know how to love my neighbors. I would connect with homeless people and people on the margins; my ministry experience is urban and I know how to engage a a city creatively. Here, I barely know my neighbors and don’t know how to break through the fences suburbanites put up. Nobody wants to sit and talk, and my attempts at meaningfully connecting feel awkward. But for better or worse, I am in this place and I wonder: What is God doing? What is he growing this season?
And so I plant a garden and become rooted to place while I wait, wondering what will grow in the yard and in me.