Being a child on a farm, I heard a lot of sayings that I now know can be attributed to generations of depending on the cycles of the seasons for survival. One of the things I heard each February was the seeds were beginning to stir. I imagined the light of the lengthening days similar to the call of my mother telling me it was time to wake up. Slowly, slowly movement and stretching until full waking takes place. When I was older, I heard a story that reminded me of my childhood imaginings of waking seeds.
In the story, a woman goes into a small shop and finds Jesus is the shop keeper. She’s intrigued, asks him why he’s working as a shop keeper and what he is selling. She becomes overwhelmed with joy filled with hope as he explains that he is selling peace, joy, forgiveness, healing, understanding, acceptance, and every other loving thing that can be so difficult to find in our world right now. Jesus invites the woman to look around at the various items and bring a list to the counter when she has all she wants and needs. She spends hours gazing at all the amazing things available, deciding on what to get first and what to save for later.
She gives her list to Jesus – peace, unconditional love, kindness, an end to suffering – all the things she’d grown to believe were not possible in our world. He takes the list and sets to work. He takes out small envelopes and places them in a basket. Then he carefully goes to the bins behind the counters that are labeled with the things the woman asked for. From each bin he carefully scoop seeds and places them in the envelopes. With the order complete, he hands her the basket with all the labeled envelopes full of seeds.
“What’s this?” she demands to know.
He replies , “These are all the things you’ve asked for. You see, we don’t sell the fruits here. Growing these things is more than a one person task, they need more space than my small shop.” The woman, as you can imagine, was quite horrified that she would have to take the seeds home, find the time and space to plant them, tend them, harvest them, save their seeds, and then grow them again. She placed the basket of seeds back on the counter and rushed out of the store, just like so many customers before.
When I think of this story in relation to Good Neighbor, I think of our volunteers and donors. These two groups of Good Neighbor supporters are like the customers who do take the packages of seeds home. They find a way to do the “gardening” that yields peace, relief from suffering, and all the other things Good Neighbor is offering in our garden of hope and help.
Not only are our benefactors the only ones who feel the stirring of these seeds of help. The very people we help have come back to offer the seeds they’ve harvested as a result of the fruits we gave them.
Working to make our world a better place needs people from every place in life. There is a place for those who have always had more than they’ve needed, those who have fallen from grace and found their way back again, those who have no idea where to work for or ask for what they need, and those who believe they do not have enough to spare.
What seeds are stirring in your garden as the light of each day lengthens?