If you know me IRL you know one of the things I really fail at is growing plants. It is not a skill I possess. Whether the plants are inside or outside, I tend to take too lax of a hand with them after putting them in the ground. I often say that when I plants flowers, herbs, or veggies that I put them in the ground and then leave them to Jesus. I am often reminded by experienced gardeners in my lives that I should play a bit more of an active role in their upbringing....such as watering them or remembering to weed the ground around them. I tend to excel at plants that can take care of themselves. Which is really none of them because they all require a little bit of care in same way. Even the grass in the lawn needs to be cut or the parts of the grass closest to the ground will whither and the whole blade will die.
All this is to say, I am not a gardener. But I try! I like to try. And then I get disappointed when it fails. When we moved into the house, there were two very large planters outside the back door near the garage. For the first summer, I just sort of looked at them and wondered if I could grow anything in them. Last summer, I got rocks to fill the bottom, potting soil, and plant food. I set to work. I bought some pink and purple pansies and some Gerber daisies for the one planter. The other planter, I was determined to grow tomatoes.
I didn't fail. I produced a few tomatoes. All of them split, though. I think I got 3 or 4 the entire summer. Not a total failure, but not great either. The one I caught before it was too far gone wasn't half bad. I have memories of picking tomatoes in the garden at my parent's house and they were delicious! Perfectly ripened, perfectly red, the perfect summer tomatoes. This one wasn't that. But it was good.
I fared better with the flowers though. At least for a time. Then one of the knuckle head dogs wrapped her lead around the planter and pulled it over. The flowers toppled out and were trampled. That was the end of the flower planter. The Hubs and I cleaned it up and put everything back in order. Dirt and rocks were put back in the planter and were forgotten.
late in May, I saw this. The flowers were blooming outside the planter and in the crack where the driveway meets the concrete of the garage. They found their own way to bloom and grow and provide beauty in a unique and surprising little way. It was a little reminder to myself that no matter what, things find a way of working out, just not always in the ways we think they should. These little flowers made a way for their lives to continue outside the planter I put them in.
So often it feels like churches put themselves in planters--confining their roots, leaves, stems and blooms inside one space. When the planter gets knocked over though, the seeds are spilled out and are given a new chance to take root so they can continue to flourish. We just need to give the seeds a little bit of time to germinate and come to fruition.
I wonder what would happen to our congregations if we spilled the planters and let the seeds scatter? We might just find the unlikely places to share a bit of surprising beauty and joy in our own little ways.