October 22, 2013

Growing Through the Seasons

Frost had been predicted. I went into my garden to gather the last of summer’s bounty. As I plucked unripe tomatoes and loaded them into the cradle of my arm, I wondered once again, why did I not remember to bring a bowl or a basket with me to the garden?

When the final harvest was completed, I surveyed the garden plot and decided that a fall clean up was necessary. So I began by pulling out the tomato cages and stakes that had been anchored deeply into the earth to support the growing vines.

Then I pulled out the plants, rooted firmly in the soil. Some had roots spreading out horizontally where they had reached out for nourishment from their surroundings. All had flourished, some more than others, and each root pattern was different.

It got me to thinking how our lives are like those plants. In our early summer gardens, we sow seeds or transplant seedlings with care, envisioning a bountiful life and a fruitful harvest in the season ahead.

We can begin anew in our own lives during any season.

Each day is an opportunity to grow in a new way; to start again and to envision the life in which we will prosper.

As summer stretches her long days into warm nights, we watch our gardens grow. We make certain they are watered faithfully, so that the plants can receive their nutrients from the soil. Roots reach out underground to sustain the rapid growth of the plant; and as the plant grows, it reaches to the sky seeking sunlight to nurture its growing abundance.

Are we so very different?

Our feet are firmly planted in this life, and our faith can nurture our growth, but we must reach out to sustain that growth. Our roots are where we are planted, our families and our communities. We can keep pretty much to ourselves, and maintain our lives just as they are.

Photo Courtesy Ed & Bunny Cooke

Or, we can reach out to others nearby and share in their lives, too, intertwining our “roots” with shared experiences and personal growth. We can nurture each other by sharing our faith journey and helping each other to navigate this challenging life, day by day.

Where do you reach out for personal growth? Like the plants reaching for the sunshine, we need to reach out to the unknown to try new challenges and new adventures. We will be sustained by the foundation of our roots, our families and our familiar lives. But we will be challenged to find new footing as we grow, to sustain a broader base of interest.

Plants need sunlight, water and soil to grow.

People need faith, hope, and love to grow.  

The One who makes all life possible is the One we need to turn to every day to sustain our growth, and indeed, sometimes to simply make it through each day.

All of nature is one, and we are a part of the whole. God created nature to work in harmony with itself, enduring through the ebb and flow of life; through vibrant, new growth, sustained life, and finally decomposition of the plant material that will feed the soil and future generations.

So must we be ready for the give and take of life; opportunities for new growth and times when we must cast away that which no longer serves us. We must sustain a willingness to explore new ideas to offer our minds new avenues of growth, and we must share our knowledge with those who are younger to encourage a new generation of thinkers and caretakers of this planet.

To strengthen our spirit, we need daily contact with our Source. Through prayer, meditation, and conversation with our Creator, we connect with the source of our energy and maintain our ability to grow. God is our sunlight.

When we turn our faces to be warmed by His presence, His peace fills us and becomes our provision. It is the sustenance we need. Like plants that maintain life through sunlight and photosynthesis, we are nurtured through our connection with God.

We can feed our spirit by connecting with the power and peace of the One who is loving, patient and forgiving. We need not fear the unknown when reaching out in new directions. God will always be there to strengthen and nurture us when we seek His guidance.

Photo Courtesy Ed & Bunny Cooke
It’s nearly as simple as turning our faces to the sun. Only instead we need to turn our hearts to God, seeking Him throughout the day, and thank Him for the beauty that surrounds us in the people and places He leads us to.  Gratitude is our fertilizer.

When we build our foundation on fertile soil, we will grow. By offering thanks for all things that touch our spirit and make us happy, we live a life of gratitude that nurtures our spirit. And this is a fertile foundation for continued growth in our lives.

We are sustained by our communities of love and faith as our foundation, and we are nurtured in growth by the love of our gracious God. In this way, providing all of the ingredients for a prosperous life, we can joyously live and grow through any season of our lives. 

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