Yesterday, in the wake of yet another mass shooting brought on by a mentally-unstable person with wide access to semi-automatic weapons, I felt powerless. I prayed, I fell quiet. Oh God, if the deaths of those small-town schoolchildren in Connecticut cannot move Washington to change gun-control laws, radically rethink mental health programs or vast wealth disparities and urban ghettos, how will this or any other act of senseless violence in the future change their minds?
So, yesterday evening as the sun was setting, I planted seeds. Summer has nearly turned to Fall in Northern Indiana, so I planted a Fall crop of spinach and various lettuces, in hopes of getting some edible salad fixings before the first frost sets in. I tried this at the beginning of the summer, but I was too late…the heat of June and, I suspect, hungry rabbits, stopped my lettuces from growing well. Perhaps I will fare better in the autumn breeze.
As I helped my three-year-old son draw a finger in the dirt to plant the seeds, I prayed. I prayed, silently, in the covering of the tiny seeds with rocky-composty dirt. No store-bought dirt for me.
Three rows of romaine blends. Three rows of spinach. Three rows of various lettuces–the package said “gourmet blend,” but it’s mostly romaine and green-leaf. Point the water, give them life. Pray.
Lord, grant life to the earth. Let my children know care for the smallest of things.
After my children went to sleep, I went back outside to clean up, and pray. Put away the rake and shovel. Place the weeds on the compost pile. Roll up the hose, swiftly, quietly; the sun setting. The grace that echoes.
I live in a violent nation, yet I will choose not to act in violence. Sometimes this remains difficult; sometimes the violence confronts me and I feel surrounded. Sometimes the violence claims distant lives, and I stand powerless in the quiet of my backyard, where my children know only play and learning and–God help us–love.
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
and makes me tread upon the heights.