Erik and I have moved around a lot in the nearly 6 years we have been married. Jobs, graduate school, new adventures, and trying to find our place in the world led us to people and places we never would have predicted. (I mean, who plans to move to Iowa 😊.) As much fun as we’ve had at our annual summer rendezvous with moving trucks, it has been very nice to know that this year our boxes can stay snugly in storage.
One of the perks of being rooted in a place is our garden. We’ve only been able to have the odd tomato plant in a pot in the past, so this year we decided to take the plunge and plant ALL the vegetables. That’s right, peppers, cucumbers, squash, cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes, onions, sweet corn, Brussels sprouts, to name a few. We figured, at least one or two of those plants would do well. It turns out, we have had a very productive year. We have vegetables literally exploding over the fence and into the yard.
I didn’t grow up with a vegetable patch. My parent’s yard had too many large shade trees, but Erik’s dad has always been an avid gardener. A month or so back I was asking his advice on thinning out some of the plants we had started from seed. We had sown thick patches of lettuce and carrots, and if we didn’t thin the small plants, they would simply choke each other out before they could produce. At least that was what my new gardening book told me. I understood the concept, but I couldn’t help but feel a little bad for tearing out these new plants and tossing them in the compost pile. It felt like such a waste. “Never feel bad about thinning, or pruning,” he said. “Gardens are abundant.”
Abundance – admittedly this is not a word that surfaces in my vocabulary very often. So uncommon is my awareness of abundance in this life that when it appeared in my garden, I didn’t even see it as good. I perceived it as a problem. I felt guilty about it! It made me wonder - where else in my life do I overlook abundance? Where else do I see pure gift and blessing and interpret it as a burden? Maybe you can relate?
As we move into the final weeks of summer, I pray for those moments where the gifts shine brighter than my grievances, where the small treasures bring contentment over my selfish troubles, and where those signs of God’s abundance and immense care speak sweeter than my fears and preoccupations. May God’s abundance root in us gratitude and sow seeds of generosity and love.
Pastor Megan finds that she rarely has all the right answers, but tries to help her community ask better questions.