There are many seasons of "letting go" in our garden! As I walk the rows, I can't help feeling a sense of sadness as I look at all the spent vegetation that I need to pull out and place in a heap on our compost pile. Just a few months ago these plants were full of life and energy, bursting forth with large heads of nutritious heirloom broccoli and cauliflower.
And even after the large and central "flower" was cut and placed in your baskets, a little colony of smaller, sweet, and nutritious "little broccoli" was harvested and enjoyed for nearly a month. The yellow flowers of the broccoli are edible and even the stems have been sweet when steamed or roasted.
Releasing a season that is ending is as essential to life as embracing one that is emerging. Pulling out spent plants and placing them in their burial ground actually becomes the compost that brings new life to the soil that will nourish our new plants. Compost -- organic matter -- is the most important amendment and the key to good soil! Who knew that a plant's refuse can become its own fuel when given the essential element called time. What about the refuse of our own lives? Does God take the things that are ugly, stinking, seemingly spent and worthless and actually transform them into the compost that can enrich the soil of our hearts? Can sorrow and suffering actually create an environment hospitable to the Word of God?
Many of us spend years and untold energy attempting to avoid the sorrow of loss and grief. Eventually we find that we have also avoided the joy of living life fully. We have avoided pain but also the pleasure of close and intimate friendship. It is risky to allow God to grow love in our hearts. There will be seasons of letting go and the accompanying pain of grief.
Leo Tolstoy has been quoted as saying, “Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.”
Like so much of life, sorrow is mingled with joy. It is our capacity to fully experience both that makes us fully human. It is what makes Jesus, our Messiah, a compassionate God and Savior.
"In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death..." Hebrews 5:7a
As we reflect on the season of Lent and the coming Easter celebration of our Lord's Resurrection, let us also consider our willingness to do the work of letting go in the gardens of our lives in order for new life to grow.