Increase our faith! (Matthew 17:5b)
In thirty-five days, I begin my year of jubilee. In forty-five days, we will be celebrating the marriage of my son to his bride.
In this lull before the wedding, I’ve been tending our little garden plot.
Last year, my son and I embarked on this project of fencing off some of the yard for him to plant a salsa garden and for me to experiment with other vegetables. We even tried our hand at growing strawberries in a gutter along the top of our fence.
Peppers, tomatoes and onions yielded spicy salsa. I harvested radishes, beans, lettuce, spinach and two spaghetti squash. The strawberries were a bust.
This year, I knew he would not have time to garden. He’s preparing for his wedding day and beginning a new season of life. I haven’t had much desire to process all the emotions that are crashing against this mother’s heart, but I am proud of him, and happy for him and his soon to be wife.
When I don’t know what to do with my feelings, or my life for that matter, I do what I know.
I know gardening. So, I visited the garden plot. I began the process of clearing the land. Pulling and piling the weeds to discard. Plunging the shovel into the soil, turning the soil over, wiping sweat from my brow as I did. It felt good. I worked sections at a time, and by the end of the afternoon my back and legs hurt, but the effort yielded to the hope of what could be.
As I shoveled and raked and cultivated the soil, I heard voices over the fence. Two young boys were playing outside, laughing and running. I heard them holler, “Hi mom! Bye mom!”
I paused my shoveling, startled because the voices sounded like my sons at that age. And in the second that it took to hear that phrase, I winced and rejoiced at how fast our boys became young men.
Early yesterday morning, I returned to plant the garden. As I pressed seeds into the ground, it occurred to me how much of life takes faith.
Faith that a little seed becomes a seedling. That a seedling becomes a plant. A plant becomes a fruitful vine. And the fruitful vine bears seeds. And the pattern repeats. A woman bears a child. The child becomes a man. The man becomes a husband. And the rhythm repeats.
Embracing the seasons, celebrating life, and asking for an increase of faith, these practices offer me hope, as I approach this year of jubilee.