Community garden, anyone?
A garden out in front of the Peace house (aka retreat house, aka extreme makeover house) on the UrbanPromise campus will be the next initiative to blossom thanks to the Wellness Center. It will occupy an otherwise nondescript, rather unappealing piece of land, which is bordered on two sides by the Federal Street bypass. Sitting in full sun, it has the potential to morph into an appealing and fruitful – or should I write vegetable-ful – space.
At the same time that this initiative was being discussed, I received a text from our daughter Aubrey, who is in college up in Boston. “I wish it wasn’t so late so I could call you – I had SUCH a God sighting today!” while on her Facebook page she was posting what a joy the day had been. Of course I called her immediately, even if it was past my 9:30 pm bedtime…it turns out she had been dragged to see a documentary that evening, which was being shown by the 3 guys who made it. They had traveled through Europe on $1.25/day each. One was an evangelist, one an atheist, and one somewhere in between…all were stunned by the help that came to them whenever they were in need. It couldn’t be explained, they said, but the trip sounded so much the richer for it. Aubrey was so moved by this, saw God in this so much, that she went up afterward to shake their hands, and to buy their DVD. I asked if the atheist was moved to have faith. “No, he was just as amazed as the other two by the experience, but it didn’t change his mind.”
What’s UP with that? This is one of my perennial faith struggles – not so much for my own faith, which is something I experience as a deep knowing, beyond words; but in trying to find the words to share my faith with those I love. “Bidden or unbidden, God is present” is a quote that I find soothing in these times. It is my experience to see our mysterious God, our God whose “ways are not ours” active in so many lives, regardless of their faith. But I do yearn for more common ground, more mutual understanding, more grace-filled comprehension with everyone in my life.
This community garden is an example of God once again giving me what I need. When it came up in conversation I had been thinking to myself that my plate is full enough, thank you, and it was time to say no. And yet when I looked back on my vision statement of a year ago, there was a garden. So in the meeting about it I didn’t say yes. I waited. And sure enough, God provided. There is a new couple working at UP – Nadia and Jeff. Turns out Nadia has extensive gardening experience, having grown essentially all of the food for their family in Vancouver. She thought she had to give that up moving here, and is jumping at the opportunity to co-direct this garden with me. And Jeff knows just how to build the raised beds! My friend and Camden County Master Gardener, Jane, is ready to support us with guidance as well.
I don’t have my answer about what it takes to open hearts and change perspectives. I am not convinced it is in my ability to do so. But I am also no longer afraid to express the frequent “God sightings” in my life, and in the life of UrbanPromise. I give thanks daily for my deep and abiding faith, which has set the course for this second half of my life.