I am an impatient gardener.
I planted some seeds from the Target dollar aisle in little planters on my porch last weekend. The information that came with them said that most of these seeds should start to sprout within 7-14 days. So for the past week, I have dutifully watered them and brought them inside when the temperatures dropped.
Every time I watered them, I also poked around in the soil a bit, hoping to see some tiny green shoots.
Evidently this is not how you are supposed to garden.
Exactly seven days after I planted them, three of my pots showed signs of life, but two were still bare. One I remembered had a slightly longer wait time, so they didn’t concern me as much. But my little pepper plant was supposed to start sprouting within 7-14 days and it had been 7 days and everything in my life must be early or at least on time because I am a little compulsive about that.
On the seventh day with no sprouts in sight, I didn’t just poke around in the soil. I dug around until I found the offending, non-sprouting seeds.
They were still not sprouting, and I was pretty sure digging them up every day and checking on them wasn’t going to help them.
I covered them back up and put them back in their warm corner with a little more water, quietly apologizing for disturbing them.
For the next 7 days, I am going to have to wait and water and leave them alone. At least, that’s what my friends who know more about plants tell me.
They also tell me there are seasons for planting things and right now might not be the best time to start some of these little plant friends, but I’m ignoring them and starting now because I am an impatient gardener.
But I already know. I know there are seasons for growing and seasons for waiting and seasons for dying and sometimes you can’t tell which of those seasons you’re in. And that makes me want to dig around, to search for signs of life even at the risk of killing off anything that’s grown so far.
I want the waiting to have a purpose, to yield fruit in its season.
I simply do not want to have to wait to be sure it is yielding fruit.
A year ago this week, World Vision made and reversed a decision to allow LGBT employees to work in its US offices.
There’s unrest in the Middle East, and it comes down to greed and gods. And people are dying in the name of both.
Children here at home are living in abusive, neglectful, unloving homes.
Students are being shot at the beach on spring break.
When I say, “How long, O Lord,” it isn’t lip service.
It’s a guttural cry, it’s a terrified gasp, perhaps sometimes it’s a prayer.
I don’t know if the seeds of growth and change and hope and new life that have been planted in this world will grow. I don’t see signs of life yet, and it makes me want to give up on the whole damned place.
I’m not dumping the peppers yet. I’ll give them this week to show me they have some fight left in them. And while I wait, I’ll water and warm them, care for them as I can. Perhaps I’m caring for already-dead seeds. Perhaps there is nothing I can do here.
But perhaps there is. And so I wait.
“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.” Psalm 39:7
Photo by Chiot’s Run, via flickr.