There is violence, racism and inequality in our world.
It begins somewhere…with a seed of mistrust. Who planted this seed?
Because seeds begin with us and we plant them, intentionally or not.
As a hopeful soul there are always seeds that I want to plant. And those hardly ever grow. It is hit or miss, basically.
Along with all the other hopeful souls in the four-season world, the end of summer makes me excited for the bulbs which I can plant in September for the time when life returns after long winter.
I gaze longingly at the garden catalogs which arrive in January amidst the month of bright, beautiful and clear snowy light…(and barren) landscape.
And ah, I love the spring. From the fragrant black earth shoots teeny skinny bright green bits of ambition.
I want to be part of that process. I want to have the illusion that I am the starter of that greenness. So, I find myself at the hardware store gazing at the packages of seeds. I think to myself…which of these will actually grow in my world?
My intentions are always good.
Years ago I started seeds in little newspaper cups and little moss cups. I have soaked seeds and scored seeds planting. I have done what I was told to do.
I have used little pitchers, little spray bottles….but at some point, either the seeds don’t come up for me or – after a period of time…after an inch of growth – or two….suddenly they wither and they die.
I look at them for awhile. I wonder what I have done wrong. I realize that once again, for another year, I have spent probably fifteen dollars on seeds because I was hopeful…and again, I have failed.
We all have something in our lives which we have planned…planted and carefully tended. Something that we all have watched and watered daily with spray bottles and little pitchers.
We all, in our own ways, have searched for the green and have poked around in the earth, looking for the sprout.
Looking for the beginning and the potential.
And then…either the seed doesn’t grow or after a few hopeful days, it dies.
And we are left with a little cup of dirt and a brown leggy bit of something that we hoped would live.
There are many others, gifted ones, in this world…who plant seeds in March…who put them in windows and bathrooms and under lights…and they grow. Boy, do they grow! They flourish and are replanted outside and become bunches of flowers or prolific zucchinis….too many for one person to use….or pumpkins or lettuces in abundance.
For me, the only seeds which seem to grow are the accidental ones. Seeds like Nasturtium…which I carelessly throw into pots only to have them dance about with their rounded leaves and happy orange edible flowers. The fact that I can grow those makes me feel lucky.
But I am jealous of those who seem to have more fertile gardens.
I am jealous of the woman with the beautiful beans — purple and green and yellow. I am jealous of the guy down the street with the beautiful tomatoes. I am jealous of the river of tulips.
But not everything that they plant comes up so nicely — because the guy down the street with the beautiful tomatoes…doesn’t speak to his children.
So here is the question: The guy planted tomato seeds, obviously. But also – he planted other seeds – those other, unintentional seeds – the seeds with his family that grew to be something — painful.
The truth is – that all the seeds we plant – in our garden and in our lives – grow to be something that we want – or something that we don’t want…if we are not aware what we are really planting.
Intentionally or not, we are planting.
In relationships and in society, kindness, for instance, is a seed that can grow into something magnificent.
Trust is a seed that grow into a tree which can help different communities relate to each other peacefully.
The seeds of peace, the seeds of racism, the seeds of violence, unnecessary violence, as well as the seeds of the overuse of power– these all start somewhere. Even these seeds are planted and fed and watered and tended.
Everything is a seed.
It is easy, easy to look at what has grown and say to ourselves – that is not what I have sown.
But you know, we only reap what we have sown.
Nothing comes from nothing.
There is war and and mistrust in the world news.
There is pain.
So I ask, which seeds did we plant – and why? For all the good seeds that we do plant — why would we even bother to plant the bad? It takes so much gosh-darn hope to even get a seed to begin, why even exert energy to grow the bad.?
Nah, people say, I didn’t plant this.
I didn’t, they say, contribute to the mistrust.
I didn’t, they say, treat another with carelessness.
I didn’t, they say, overreact.
But yet, how is the world such as it is without the seeds? How can we continue to say that we were not, did not plant the seeds which made the world thus.
Shall we only take credit for the planting of the beautiful tomatoes — and the almost-unintentional nasturtiums — but not for our troubled family relationships?
We all, in our own ways, have searched for the green. We have poked around in the earth, looking for the sprout — and maybe we have found the sprout we hoped we would not find.
We are left with a a brown leggy bit of something that we hoped would live — while the menacing vine flourishes.
How can any of us deny that we did not plant those seeds as well?
I can’t speak for them. I can only speak for me.
I have planted them.
I have planted all the seeds.
All the beautiful ones…some of which did grow a little
and so many which did not flourish.
I also planted some ugly ones.
I planted some painful ones.
Even when my intentions are good.
And even when they were not.
Everything, everything we do….everything is a seed.
We have to be so careful.
So very careful.