You see that? That looks depressing. I may be an avid gardener with a house full of plants, flowerbeds in the yard, and been gardening since I was a bean sprout, but waiting for seeds to germinate is one of the hardest things ever. They take soooooo long!! It doesn’t help that many of the people where I garden are retired so they can spend as many hours as they wish making their plots beautiful. Most of them also don’t drag little ones along with them, and they plant full size plants instead of seeds. All of that makes my garden plots even more depressing.
Often our dreams and goals feel like my sad plot. We perform duties and make investments in what we believe to be noble things and we hope for great returns on our effort, but instead we find ourselves looking at a barren plot waiting for the seeds to hint at new life.
As a mother, I feel this when my toddler throws a screaming tantrum, or when I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing else besides changing diapers. As a homemaker, I feel it when I see the dirty dishes where it had just been sparkling clean yesterday. As a teacher, I’ve felt it when you work hard on a unit and feel so sure it will be the magic to help a certain student move forward, but you are still waiting for that magic to happen. In the business world, it may be a quiet faithfulness to your job, wondering if it will ever be noticed.
The ground still looks barren.
This week, I found a gentle word of encouragement in a children’s picture book. Bring me some apples and I’ll make you a pie, tells some of the childhood of Edna Lewis, a famous southern chief. To be honest, I was jealous of her orchards, berry bushes, garden, and the ample produce they found in nature. The book shared how they gathered each fruit, vegetable, and nut in turn, and how they preserved it so they could keep a bit of summer sunshine for the cold winter months.
It made me reflect on how many years those trees must have grown without any produce, before the family was able to have enough to harvest. How many hours were spent preparing those bean and corn fields, before the big gathering celebration began? It wasn’t always harvest season. Some days it was planting season. Other days they worked to preserve the joy of their goals being accomplished, so they could hold on to that bit of sunshine when the cold barren season came.
And just like their orchard planting, walnut scavenging, bean/corn field sowing, eventually culminated in a grand harvest to be preserved for the cold winter months, and made into apple preserves, cherry pie, canned green beans, corn pudding, etc, so my little seeds will eventually germinate and produce new life. Every year, they eventually grow, (well, most of them) yet every year it’s the same discouraging waiting process.
And just as my seeds require time and patience, so do my dreams and goals. They will not happen this week or maybe even this year, but they will happen. “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:18)
Can you promise me something? Promise me, that when I start to despair over my garden or over my children or over ___________ (fill in the blank), that you’ll remind me that the harvest will eventually come? In turn, I’ll do the same for you.
Robert Louis Stevenson is accredited with saying, “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” Each towering tree came from a single seed that was simply planted. Robert H. Schuller said, “Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the apples in a seed.”
Let’s keep planting, and trust HIM for the harvest.