oh peas, no!

20140509-172930.jpg(actually, they’re tiger beans, but this priest couldn’t resist the bad AWESOME joke)

This morning I had coffee with a fellow writer friend.  I confided in her that I’ve felt challenged the last few weeks, lots of honesty roiling inside of me, eager to get free.  But I haven’t found a gentle, gracious, sufficiently-shrouded way to say these things yet, so I keep quiet–and very little comes out of the faucet at all (case in point: this dear space over the last six weeks).

Looking at my dear little bean plants in the garden this afternoon, I noticed something very disconcerting: their hard, protective shells were shriveled on the dirt.  Discarded.  Dried up.  Spent.  Returning to the dust.

The sort of click that you hear just-cracked safes make in the movies sounded in my head.

It’s only in taking off the outer barrier–the nice, cozy, practically indestructible casing–that allows the plant to grow, to feel the sunshine, to blossom, and then to bear fruit.  Growing does each of us good in and of ourselves, and to a much lesser extent, does good for those around us, watching our growth, encouraging their own growth, we hope.  The bearing fruit, though, that’s when we can really thrive, because that’s what we’re made and meant to do–to share the beautiful, hard-won, unique gifts that God places inside each of us.

But ugh–we’ve got to shed that outer shell, making ourselves open to attack, criticism, weather, ugliness.

Another wise friend of mine said recently, “With the immense support I have, how could I let my fear get in the way?”  With the immense support we have in our great triune God, how could we let our little limiting casings get in the way?


Soaking It Up

Since the first seeds dove into the soil the end of February, the weather has been rather dramatic.  There are strong, sunny days when heat seems to rise off the dark soil, and I imagine the seeds waking up warm and cozy, opening themselves to the nutrition of the dirt and the affirming warmth of the sunshine.  There are lots of chilly, wet, very cloudy days, when I imagine the seeds soak up the wet, even soggy, nourishment floating around them, loosening the hard seed covers, encouraging the seed’s stretching and growing–like those little sponges that start out as colorful pills but become great animals for bath times.

The little seeds–and me!–don’t get to choose which are sunny days and which are cold, rainy days.  They’ve got to just keep doing their thing, growing and stretching and taking in what they’re offered, using all the resources of the moment to help them grow.

How are you using the resources you’re being offered this very moment to help you grow?