I recently moved into a new home, and for the first time I have land, a front yard and a back yard too, with plenty of space for a garden. For someone who has spent her life on the road, spring brings a daunting revelation. I am responsible for the earth under my feet, the very ground that holds up my house, and what I do with it will contribute to this old house becoming a home, a place for family, community and growth.
It’s time to plant seeds. But I have no idea where to begin. I spend hours on Pinterest pinning glorious greenery late into the night, but still no plan. I sign up for a 7-day MasterClass trial to cram Ron Finley’s course on gardening. He makes it look so easy, but I come away with a head full of ideas and no direction. I order gardening tools and a manual lawn mower. The sun comes out, so I go outside and stare blindly at my patchwork yard of grass and stone, weeds and perennials popping up with memories of a past I’ll never know. Two compost bins are overflowing so I dig them out and discover pay dirt from the previous owners. My garden will be enriched by their good intentions.
A neighbor wanders over and offers some advice. Lucky for me, she’s lived next door for a dozen years, growing her own garden and watching the various people who have inhabited my house leave their imprint on the neighborhood landscape. What I thought was just a strip of weeds growing up between my concrete driveway and the house turns out to have been a highly successful vegetable garden, so abundant that the squash and zucchini would stretch all the way across the drive, the hot sun on brick creating a makeshift Italian pizza oven. The previous owners shared their harvest with the neighborhood, a cornucopia growing from a spot I had not even considered in my wildest Pinterest daydreams.
I dig up the weeds with a hoe my neighbor lent me and lay down cardboard like she suggested. Soon I will layer it with compost and then we’ll go together to get seedlings from the neighborhood greenhouse. I still don’t know what I’m doing, but I’ve got a new friend to advise me and some history to inform me and some hope for the future that I’ve stepped into already, in my own small way, a steward of God’s glorious green earth.
What does this have to do with gratitude and hope? All obvious seed planting metaphors aside, I think it means that even when we don’t know what direction to take, we can trust there is a deeper vision at work and there always has been, before we were created, before the world was born. And now, we get to witness the work of spring and new life and old intentions rooted in gratitude, growing into reasons to hope. What a beautiful thing.
This week, let’s plant something green for hope. Even if it’s a little thing, a sapling or a seed, it’s bound to grow with gratitude and love.
Join us this Monday on Instagram Live at 3pm ET in a conversation with Dr. Matthew Sleeth, author of Reforesting Faith and executive director of Blessed Earth.
We’ve been writing the Book of Hope together for seventeen weeks now, but it’s never too late to join us! Here’s all you need to get started.
And don’t forget to check out our Spotify playlist for songs of hope and inspiration.