The backyard at the parsonage where I’ll be going in July has not exactly been landscaped. At one point in history it was. So there are big, mature trees, there’s a rock pond, and what was formerly an intentional flower bed. At some point in history it was left to become a dirt lot. Then was *organically* done as the leaves etc fell and were helped to become mulch and then just *fertilize* the yard. As such, it is a green mix of daffodils, trees, wildflowers, weeds, and who knows what else.
I’m excited about having a yard. I want to plant a garden. I want to plant flowers. And with a dog, possibly 2, joining me, I’d like grass too. So I’m already plotting the plants I want to buy, the weeds that will be pulled, the spot for composting, and identifying the good sun areas for the vegetables. But as I learn more and more lessons about patience, I also know that it would probably be wise to wait the seasons out and see what is already there that can be left, used, or simply transplanted. And at my parents’ urging, I also know it would probably be good if I cultivated the compost pile for a year and then used that soil to plant a garden next year and not deal with it in the craziness of this year’s move and adjustment. I get all of those things, but I am also impatient and want to have it just so as soon as possible so I can really enjoy it.
All of that got me thinking about the church. Going to a new church, I’ve been thinking about what we can do. Brainstorming about worship. Planning community outreach. Dreaming up studies and programs. And then this last week I was reminded to be patient. To not do too much too quickly. To take my time. To observe. To build relationships and then do something. And I realized the congregation is much like my future backyard. There will be large mature trees. Daffodils that survived the years and need just a little extra watering. Wildflowers that offer beauty. Some things that have been done intentionally and others that just sort of happened. There will be some weeds that need to be pulled, and some plants that can afford to be transplanted. Others will surprise me in the changing seasons with what they have to offer. Much like my garden, it will be important to be patient and observe the seasons to see what is there. To find a place to create compost (a place for nutrient rich soil) that can be used in future planting. And yes, to seek out the obvious weeds and begin to pull those, but to be careful not to disturb that which has much to offer.
Looks like I will be doing more gardening that I anticipated. It will take much patience, hard, hot, sweaty labor, planning, intentionality, nutrients, and water as well as care and upkeep.
Here’s to new growth, the revelation and beauty of the seasons, and a beautiful, healthy ecosystem.