Do you like to cook or bake? If so, you might find great comfort in following a recipe. I know I do, especially when baking. There is a certain security I feel in knowing that if I follow all the directions precisely, most often the desired results will occur. The bread will rise or the cookies will bake or the pie crust will turn a delicious golden brown.
Unfortunately, I have discovered that gardening in many ways does not follow this same rule of certitude. I can sow the seeds at just the right time, water on schedule, plant in full sun or partial shade depending on the flower’s or vegetable’s needs, etc. I can seem to do everything “by the book” and yet the plants may succomb to a virus, a fungus or some furry creature with a hearty appetite (yes, Mr. Squirrel, I’m talking to you). So does that mean I stop planting a garden just because there are many factors I just cannot control? No way. That would be far too easy. Planting a garden involves taking a leap of faith and often consulting others for help.
Discipleship, like gardening, my friends, is not for the faint of heart. For fifty-one years, I have, more often than not, stuck to my Catholic Christian faith. Along the way, though, there have been times where I’ve given in to temptation, anger, pride, and the list goes on and on. I’ve frequently had to turn to others for advice and this life has required a daily, sometimes hourly leap of faith. I’ve come to rely on God and others in my faith community for strength and support. I am not the textbook example of the perfect Christian if there is such a thing, but I am strengthened when I read in Acts of the Apostles 2: 46-47 that “every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to breaking bread in their homes. They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying favor with all the people.” Isn’t that what we are all about as a parish family?
It’s just the beginning of a new gardening season at our home and we are just about to begin Ordinary Time again in our church home. I can be prepared for some things and do my best to stick with the plan, but I’m also getting ready for whatever yet unknown variables that may or may not come my way. I’m going to try to enjoy both the garden and parish life to the best of my ability each day. In the end, it’s all up to THE Master Gardener anyways, isn’t it?