A Group of People

Back From The Dirt

In life, organic, shamrock on February 21, 2011 at 4:43 pm

By Liz Dugger

“Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over.”

John 12:24 – The Message Bible

It came peaking through the french doors from the east. A hint of spring. Teaser. I knew it was only a forerunner – not the real deal – it was too soon. But I played along as the welcome sunbeam caught dust particles dancing their way to the wood floor through early light in the room. My mind felt crisp at the bright intrusion.

Then I saw the pot of dirt. My thoughts went dark like the corner where the dead plant sat, beyond the sunbeam, on top of a cold wood stove where I’d set it in early winter. I’d wanted it out of sight like my doubts about brighter days. That pot stirred unbelief in me even though I’ve seen it’s bulbs rise, as if from the dead, 19 seasons before. For the 19th time I was tempted to buy the dirty lie:  “New life will never come again.”

It’s just a silly shamrock. But I got it as a gift from a family in another state that became my sunbeam through a dark season. Long winter. I brought it home as a reminder of life-after-death-of-a-season and have nurtured it through many changes. It speaks to me of life, family, friendship. Sometimes it thrives. Other times, gives in to the dirt, showing no sign of living. The pot reminds me to believe. This day, it lured me toward doubt.

Looking at the cold stove, I muster the courage to walk closer. Creep beyond the dancing dust to peer into the pot. Picking it up, I see hopeful greens struggling toward the light so I move it to the sun, directly in the beam of warmth. I swear I could see those baby sprigs stretch. Reach. Ask for a hand up as they struggle toward signs of a new season.

I wanted to cheer them on. “You can do it! Winter is nearly gone – it’s your time!” I went to the sink for a glass of water, which I shared with my potted friends, and breathed a grateful sigh that I’d refrained (the 19th time) from casting them out the door when I quit believing because all I could see was dirt. For a moment I closed my eyes, one knee on the hard floor by the baby shamrocks, barely breathing. I see the faces of those who did not cast me out in a season when all they could see of me was dirt.

I give the clay pot another drink of water and reflect …

Beneath the topsoil a Message of Truth is found. Truth that doesn’t rot in drenching rain or dehydrate from scorching sun. It can’t be dug up by a dog or eaten by gophers. It won’t die by herbicide or fatten up on fertilizer. From season to season, century to century, it remains unchanged, except to grow and multiply like a prolific perennial underground. Then springs up – as if from a grave – having reproduced itself beyond imagination in some clay pot that looked like it held nothing more than dirt …

My thoughts stretch toward the light wanting to imagine more, but this is all I see.

I sigh, accept the limits of my imagination, and sit on the floor where some dust has settled in the sunbeam with my blooming friends. My mind turns crisp again at thoughts of spring. I’m satisfied to know the bulbs haven’t decayed underground and am ready to move on. So I pick up my pot, carry it to the kitchen garden window, ready to watch treasures of another season spring to life, back from the dirt.

“We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives.”

II Corinthians 4:7

(The Message Bible)

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  1. Love it!! What a great post!!

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