Accepting the Facts
Fact #1: The COVID-19 pandemic continues. The number of people infected grows every day across the country. As of this writing, there are over 2.5 million cases and 125,000+ deaths in the United States.
Fact #2: Systemic racism has plagued the United States of America even before declaring its dependence in 1776. Racism’s pervasive and insidious grip continues to threaten the sanctity of Black and brown lives.
Fact #3: The soul of America is crying out, clamoring for real change. People of every hue, nation, and creed unite in the march for equality.
Though I am weary, though my tears still fall, I am encouraged.
Pain and suffering are inevitable, unequivocal proof of life that has been lived. Purpose lies within my pain for my growth and transformation often flourish amid brokenness much like gardening.
Stephen Covey says, “You must prepare the ground, plant the seed, cultivate, and water if you expect to reap the harvest.” Gardening echoes the journey of psychological growth and healing.
The ground is hard, dry, and devoid of nutrients analogous to life’s difficult circumstances. I labor and toil, sweat dripping from my brow. I unearth rocks, kill pests, and aerate the soil. Growth requires work. I plant seeds, seeds watered by nourishing rain and bathed in the sun’s luminous rays. Then I wait for the harvest. But what I harvest depends on what I planted. The Bible says that we know the tree by it’s fruit. Am I planting seeds of despair, doubt, fear, and anger? Or am I sowing seeds of love, hope, faith and peace? Therein lies the heart of the matter.
Reaping the Harvest
I understand there is no harvest without work – without blood, sweat, and tears. It is not the absence of trouble that leads to abundance; rather it’s the pressing of the olive that produces the oil. Though I am pressed on all sides, I am not devoured. Challenges create opportunities for transformation and evolution. So, tend to the garden of my mind, sowing rows upon rows of resilience that lies deep within the kernels I plant – seeds of love, hope, faith, peace, freedom, and justice. Then I will reap a bountiful harvest.
Plant seeds of Love
LOVE – “unselfish, loyal, and benevolent concern for the good of another” (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary)
Romans 12:9 (NLT) – Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.
1 Peter 4:8 (NLT) – Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for lover covers a multitude of sins.
Ephesians 4:2 (NLT) – Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults.
1 Corinthians 16:14 (NLT) – And do everything with love.
Colossians 3:14 (NLT) – Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.
Plant seeds of Hope
HOPE – “a desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment” (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary)
Psalms 62:5 (NIV) – Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.
Romans 5:3 – 4 (NLT) – We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
Hebrews 10:23 (NLT) – Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.
Plant seeds of Faith
FAITH – “something that is believed especially with strong conviction” (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary)
Mark 9:23 (NIV) – Everything is possible for one who believes.
2 Timothy 4:7 (NIV) – I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV) – For we live by faith, not by sight.
Plant seeds of Peace
PEACE – “freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions” (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary)
John 16:33 (NLT) – I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.
1 Peter 3:11 (NLT) – Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
Hebrews 12:14 (NLT) – Work at living in peace with everyone
James 3:18 (NLT) – And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.
Plant seeds of Freedom
FREEDOM – “the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action” OR “liberation from slavery or restraint from the power of another” (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary)
Galatians 5:13 (NLT) – For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.
John 8:32 (NLT) – And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
Plant seeds of Justice
JUSTICE – “the quality of being just, impartial, or fair” (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary)
Isaiah 1:17 (NLT) – Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Find for the rights of widows.
Zechariah 7:8 – 9 (NLT) – Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another. Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor.
Provers 31:8 – 9 (NLT) – Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.
Micah 6:8 (NLT) – the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.
1 John 3:18 (NLT) – Let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.
Today, I choose to plant seeds of gratitude and expectation. Though my grief lingers, I remain hopeful. While I acknowledge and accept the pain of what is, I will choose to believe in the good that is to come; but not by happenstance but with intention and purpose.
Oprah says, “Turn your wounds into wisdom.” Cultivate good ground and plant good seed.