The Work of My Hands

“The real enemies of our life are the ‘oughts’ and the ‘ifs’. They pull us backward into the unalterable past and forward into the unpredictable future.  But real life takes place in the here and now”  – Henri Nouwen

 

I wanted to put in a garden this year.  I had hoped for a greenhouse.  I’d planned on building numerous raised beds and filling them with the compost I was making and then planting seeds.  I’d intended to have all my existing beds weeded and dug and ready for spring.

There is no greenhouse.  Two raised beds are built but not filled with soil.  They lean against the side of the house. There are weeds in my garden beds.

I ought to have gotten more done.  If I’d gotten these things accomplished, I would be ready for the garden that I had hoped for and envisioned…

But now, today, I have a choice.  I can work with what I have here and now and choose to place my seeds into soil…

or leave the seeds

in their packages

in the shoe box

on the shelf

in the cabinet

in the dining room

in the dark

where they will surely not sprout and grow.

How many other aspects of my life does this same thought process apply to?

Brushes not dipped into paint create nothing.

Blog posts not written can’t be read.

Cards not created and mailed can’t be received.

Art cards not imagined, created and shared can’t be found.

How often does my fear of imperfection or failure or rejection keep me from trying?

I have all the “seeds” I need both literally and figuratively…

seeds and soil and canvases and paint and ideas…

I also have fear and anxiety and doubts…

It is my choice to make…

Dwell on the mistakes and rejections of the past?

Anticipate with fear and anxiety the future?

Or do the work of my hands in the here and now with the potential to bring a little hope and beauty and light into the world?

Today I choose to believe in the potential of the seed to sprout and take root and grow and bless the world.

Peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Behold!

I seem to be on a word binge lately – remember juxtaposition, plethora and epiphanies from yesterday’s post?  I don’t actually talk like this a lot in my everyday life.  I am usually prone to conversation (often one-sided) that goes something like this…

  • Did ya’ pick up your clothes off the bathroom floor?
  • Did that seem like a good idea?
  • Take the trash out – NOW.
  • If you don’t pick up your room now, I’m coming in with a trash bag.
  • Did ya’ pick up your clothes off the bathroom floor?
  • Go do your math – NOW.

There is more, but you get the general idea.  So, this blog is fun for me.  I get to remember that I actually did go to college, am educated and could converse in a pompous manner if it is ever required again.  I am flexible.

Today’s word is “behold”.

I have a revered reverend friend who pondered yesterday about why the word “behold” has fallen out of use.  I pledged to use the word today…so here it is.

Behold!

I looked up the meaning to make sure I got it right:

Basically it means to see with attention, to see clearly, to direct the eyes to, or fix them upon an object.

And somehow that totally fits with what I am thinking about today.  I love it when those mysterious coincidences happen.

I suppose that when you behold something it seems to happen in an instant…Wow, look at that! I am suddenly seeing that for the first time.  Amazing!

Sure, the actual seeing happens that quickly.  But, what groundwork was laid before.  What brought you to that moment when you were able to behold?  When the realization and recognition were possible?

Take, for example a seed.  It’s tucked safely in a seed package.  There’s a picture on the front of the package, a promise of what’s to come if, and when, that seed reaches it’s potential.  You see the picture.

But, a lot has to happen to that seed for growth to occur. Work has to be done.

The seed has to be planted and watered and have the warmth and light of the sun.

And it has to change…to be damaged in a manner of speaking.  It can’t stay the same.  It has to be broken open and exposed for the sprouting to occur.

It has to struggle to break free of the confines of the earth that has nurtured it.  Yet it can’t leave the earth entirely.  It must remain firmly and extensively rooted or it will not thrive.  It must continue to grow and branch out in the world.  It’s hard work.

And then, one day, a bud…a possibility.

And then, BEHOLD!  A flower, some fruit.

It’s not the same as the picture on the package.  You saw that.

But you can “behold” the actual flower, the fruit.  It’s real and you can experience it.  Smell it, taste it, touch it!

How well does this apply to us and to our lives?  To the growth we are striving for?

The growth I am striving for…a life lived more intentionally.  Potential realized.  Filled with peace, joy, love and creativity.

The promise of the seed is never realized in the package.  The potential of the seed is merely an image.

I want to rip open the package, to break open and strive and grow…to bear bountiful fruit.

And I am afraid of it.

The choice is – to look or to behold?

It’s not a choice you make once and it’s done.  The choice has to be made over and over and over again.  Sometimes daily, more often moment by moment.

A rich, full, intentional life is hard.  It’s full of mistakes, and do-overs.  Lots of learning and frustration.  And rewards.

Today, I’m going to choose to live a life that can be seen clearly.  Behold!