I have a love-hate, care-neglect relationship with plant life. Really, I want to love gardening. I want to take credit for a blooming landscape in my yard. I want to care for my houseplants and watch them flourish. But, piles of laundry, home school lessons, ten thousand calls for “MOM,” and the needs of everyday living in a household filled with two- and four-footed beings beckon louder than do the green (or sometimes yellow) things rooted around me.
Knowing my thumb is anything but green, I still decided to contribute to the family garden this year. However, if I’m honest, it was for no other reason than it seemed a shame to let that vast expanse of raised, dirt beds in the yard sit empty. I mean, what would the neighbors think?
So, with that half-hearted intention, I filled some plastic trays with peat pellets months ago and planted a seed in each one. I put forth my best efforts to remember the project and watered it accordingly. However, only about half of the seeds sprouted. I planted them in the garden beds.
Then, after some contemplation, I decided to re-seed the peat pods that hadn’t produced, rather than write them off as a total loss. Like the gardener in Jesus’s parable, I thought it prudent to give the project a little more time.
Worst that Could Happen
What was the worst that could happen, I reasoned. So, I retrieved the seed packets from the storage basket and re-seeded the pellets for a second time. And I repeated the previous schedule of remembering and watering.
Within a short interval, much to my delight, two of the pods begot new sprouts. But again, the rest appeared barren such that I resolved to give up hope in them entirely.
Then, this morning, approximately two weeks after the second-string sprouts erupted, I stumbled upon another new sprout. Admittedly, the pods were actually bone-dry when I checked them because I’d forgotten to water them for a few days (as I said my thumb’s hue isn’t any shade of green). And yet a single resilient seed still produced growth.
I could have thrown the non-producing pods away after the first go-around, but I suppose it is in my nature to hold out hope longer than others do (that is at times a blessing and at other times a fault). I certainly could have pitched the non-sprouters at least a week ago because at that point I was convinced nothing more was coming. In fact, the only reason for not having done so was that I was waiting on the second-stringers to gain enough strength to be transferred into the garden and they all share the same tray.
Yet, there stands a little sprig of new life today. And how right on time it is. Because that tiny plant reminds me that even when the environment is parched and conditions are less than ideal, growth still happens. Indeed, some growth requires just such conditions.
Hope is a powerful force.
Based in Truth
Of course, it also seems right to acknowledge that reality must be a factor, too. Because if I hope this little, persistent sprout is going to provide me with juicy, red tomatoes than I am going to be disappointed. It can’t because it came from a parsley seed. So, hope is necessary, but so too is an expectation based in truth.
In light of that, how often do we abandon hope when what we really need to do is adjust our expectations or input? If we sow seeds of peace, charity, and forgiveness, we can rightly hope to grow good fruit. However, if sow discord, hate, or violence than hoping for good fruit would be tantamount to expecting to get a tomato from a parsley seed.
Grateful for Good Fruit
Life sometimes looks and feels parched and unproductive. Some days, there is a real temptation to forgo hope. But growth happens and new life springs forth even in the midst of this.
Today, I am thanking God for once again teaching me to plant my hope in Him. Today, I am grateful to Jesus for never abandoning this little, dry heart of mine. Because under His care He bears good fruit in and through it.