Last year, in my sad little garden sat a row of sad little hostas. I had such good intentions when I bought them. But good intentions can only get you so far in life.
The bulbs were good – really, they were! But the soil wasn’t. In fact, the soil was complete crap. Years of neglected oak leaves had left the soil acidic and unable to mature anything to it’s full potential. Actually, the soil had a history of killing things planted in it. Seriously, killing. All the way dead.
I finally got tired of losing well tended greenery to that blasted soil so one fateful day I dug up one bulb – one glorious bulb. I put it in a pot with good soil – good soil! I don’t know why, but I cared. It’s frustrating to tend to something that refuses to thrive.
After I replanted it, it slowly started to perk up. I mean, it wasn’t perfect. It still had battle scars. Like paint from a certain preschooler.
But eventually – finally – it grew a single bud. It was kind of a big deal. Getting anything to successfully flower in that yard was a big deal.
I watched it sort of obsessively after that, like a mother hosta hen. Every day I would go outside to look for the tiniest of changes. A little taller, a little fuller, a little closer to seeing what the finished product would be.
There’s something about nurturing a living thing that gives you a special kind of appreciation for it’s growth. Every small detail gives you an odd, victorious pleasure.
It’s like you’re proud – even though you know it’s more or less out of your control. There’s a simple joy in sitting on the sidelines of beauty and growth and just cheering it on.
There’s a reason why Jesus talked about agriculture so much. It’s so cliche but it’s so perfect. Our soils are crap. Preschoolers have painted stress on our souls, the acid of cynicism has absorbed into our roots, storms have torn us. But the potential is still there. The potential to bloom.
The seed is good. And wherever the conditions are ripe, we grow. God waters and tends, and prunes, and sometimes even relocates us. (HELLO, Georgia to Canada, anyone?)
And I kind of figure He delights in every detail of our lives, smiles at every hint of progress, no matter how small. And waits expectantly for us to bloom to our full potential. At least, that’s what I like to think.