He who plants a seed,
Beneath the sod;
And waits to see -
Believes in God.
- Author Unknown
In the intrduction to My Grandfather's Blessings, Rachel Naomi Remen tells the story of her grandfather and the little cup of dirt that he gave her, asking her to water it each day. She lived in an apartment in Manhattan and dirt in a cup made no sense to her. But she watered the little cup each day. Then, after several weeks, she woke to find "two little green leaves that had not been there the night before". When she shared her astonishment with her grandfather, he explained to her that "life is everywhere, hidden in the most ordinary and unlikely places" and that "all it needs is your faithfulness".
Yesterday I helped my grandson plant sunflower seeds in a sunny patch of earth in his backyard. He watered them with his watering can. If he waters them faithfully and is patient, he should be rewarded with the seedlings of sunflowers in just a few weeks. With more patience and care, those seedlings will grow to be giant sunflowers.
I've always thought of gardening as a lesson in patience, care, and humility and a reminder of the miracles of God's creation. But I'd not thought of it in terms of faithfulness. But faithfulness in care and attention to both our gardens and those around us blesses us. It's faithfulness that keeps our relationships strong. Faithfulness in communicating with, listening to, and caring for the needs of others. Faithfulness in believing in others. Faithfulness in just being there. With faithfulness, we put down deep roots. Roots that keep us grounded and strong when things are tough. And our lives are blessed.