This came to me this morning the morning after Trump’s victory. I found it comforting and it helped me to reboot.
Wayne Muller wrote it and he has been one of the inspiring voices in my heart for years.
A Time for Planting
(Written before learning the final results of the U.S. Presidential Election.)
For everything there is a season,
And a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what has been planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up…
– Ecclesiastes 3:1-3
Many years ago Boston was a city fiercely divided, suffering extreme violence and anger fueled by deep racial tensions. There were rallies, marches, and mobs of people escalating into riots almost daily. The flames of rage engulfing the city in the mid 1970’s were inflamed by racial desegregation, accomplished through mandatory busing throughout Boston’s public schools.
I remember calling Kathy, a dear friend and community organizer who lived in Dorchester – at the time, an uneasily mixed neighborhood of traditionally working-class Irish Catholics, with an increasing number of African American families. Dorchester was one of several flash points around Boston where violence between racial groups had grown painfully common. There had been a murder in her neighborhood, she said, just the night before.
What could we ever do, we wondered aloud, that would help to heal, in any significant way, this suffering, born of such deep, simmering rage and violence? Kathy said, “I am going to plant a garden. In my front yard. I don’t know how it will help, but I feel like I just have to plant something and help it grow.”
Now, decades later, Boston is a vastly different city. And Kathy’s garden continues to grow, born of a fragile hope, tended by a faith that Beauty, and Life – however seemingly insufficient at the time – were two things she could offer the world around her. It remains, today, an abundant source of delight, comfort, and peace for all who slow down, and rest a while, basking in the colors, the textures, and the fragrances of her magnificent garden. Planted in her front yard.
A garden that began as a thin layer of dirt and a few struggling seeds, was never going to stop the violence, or heal the shredded hearts of all those around her. But it was what something she knew she could do. Something she had to do.
Because it was time to plant something.
This is one of those times.
Many of us fear our gifts, small and fragile as they are, will not matter. So we wait. We hold back, hoping to grow something larger, something clearly important, obviously useful. Convinced our gift will never stop the suffering, the ache, the open wounds all around us, we decide our gift to the world is surely foolish, inadequate.
But every gift is a drop of water on a stone; every kindness, every flash of color or melody helps us remain hopeful and in balance. Each of us knows some part of the secret, and each of us holds some small portion of the light. We can only thrive together on the earth if we each bring what we have, and offer it at the family table.
It is impossible that you have no gift. Perhaps you are unsure of your gift, or you are afraid to share it, afraid it will be refused, ridiculed for not being good enough, important enough. Perhaps you are waiting for the perfect opportunity, the right moment, when it will have meaning, and value, and purpose, and grow something beautiful in the world.
Your gift is alive, vitally necessary, and is already growing inside you this very moment.
The season for planting has come. No matter the dark, the cold, the shortening days. We are not given the power to choose when our gifts are needed. When who we are, what we know, what we have, will be required.
The world is waiting. You are being called by name to come as you are, and bring what you have, to this very large, complex and tortured family table.
Make no mistake. The time for planting is right now. Today.
Come. Bring your gift.
It is the Time to build up.
May you be happy, wild, and free,
P.S. You can get Wayne’s books here. I recommend them all.
Go for it => Wayne Muller’s books.