Most of us arrive at a sense of self and vocation only after a long journey through alien lands. But this journey bears no resemblance to the trouble-free “travel packages” sold by the tourism industry. It is more akin to the ancient tradition of pilgrimage –
“a transformative journey to a sacred center” full of hardships, darkness and peril.” In the tradition of pilgrimage those hardships are seen not as accidental but as integral to the journey itself.
-Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak
Last week I decided that it was time to plant onions. You can plant onions from seed, or you can plant them from a seedling that is a little baby onion. I had a patch of ground prepared and wondered what it would hold. I decided that it would hold onions.
So I put them in – the right spacing apart, point up, in about two inches into the ground, covered. It was actually pretty easy as my gardening goes – normally I am pick-axing giant rocks out of the ground.
I moved on to do a few other things in the garden.
But then I walked back to the onion patch and looked at it. Of course I had only just finished. But I looked at it, this blank part of ground, thought of my grandmother, and I said, “Grow dammit!”
Not only do I have many fond memories of her from my own experience, but I also have the family stories about her that I learned later on. One of them had to do with plants.
Supposedly she was having a hard time with her house plants – they were dying, and someone said to her “You know don’t you, you are supposed to talk to your plants – that’s what makes them grow.”
Without skipping a beat my grandmother said, I do talk to them. I talk to them everyday. I say, “Grow dammit, or I’ll pull you out!”
We are talking today about harvest and about purpose and finding meaning.
You will also see, up here on the table, in addition to the book by Parker Palmer and a handful of onions, that I brought my grandma’s St. Francis bird bath – which is not really a bird bath anymore, but more of a succulent garden now.
My favorite catholic priest Richard Rohr, a Franciscan friar, talks about what he calls ‘birdbath Franciscanism.’
I’m assuming most people have heard of St. Francis – the first sermon he preached was to a bunch of birds – it is said […]