Friday, March 23, 2007

little miracles

The tiny black dot in the middle of my hand is a single seed of thyme. It is miniscule, insignificant. Hardly bigger than a granule of dirt. That it will grow into a plant large enough to fill two hands is baffling to me. Even though this is the reason for a seed's existence - it's what it does - I can't help but feel skeptical that this little speck will amount to anything. My doubt arises even in the face of my own eye-witness proof: last year, my seeds did indeed turn into plants (much to my awe and amazement). And yet still I feel unsure that this tiny piece of potential can become something so largely actual.

The fact of this seemingly impossible metamorphosis and our trust that it will occur successfully each time represents for me the most tangible, simple expression of faith I have encountered. A plant begins life from seed, grows to its full stature, then dies; but only in dying can it create the tiny dried seeds necessary to start the cycle over again. Each time we plant one of these seeds, we trust that it will in fact turn into the plant it is destined to become, impossible though it may seem. This has great spiritual significance to me: it points toward a larger meta-structure, a pattern in nature of life springing from death. From the weakest and smallest in appearance come the greatest and strongest, far beyond any reasonable expectation of potential. The last shall be first.

On this first weekend of spring, I am about to celebrate the beautiful weather by going out in my front yard and plowing up the weeds and grass in order to plant my front yard garden. When I dropped my seeds into a tray of peat cups earlier this week, I said a little prayer that they would sprout. I cling (albeit with uncertainty) to the trust that these seeds will germinate in time, and I hope that this simple act of faith nudges me closer to the sublime force behind it all.

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