“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” Luke 8:5
It’s Fall. Multi-colored leaves lie on the ground in witness, rustling underfoot as I (and my new rottweiler puppy Rocco) walk by. Harvest time. Bringing to my remembrance years gone by, when I lived another life. I was married then, my children were small and I had a garden. It was my first garden ever and a wonderful accomplishment, full of tomatoes, peppers and squash. I planted string beans and cucumbers, and watched them climb up against my chain link fence as they grew. I even tried my hand at mustard and collard greens but that didn’t turn out so well, lol! I accidentally threw out the baby mustards and picked the collards too soon but on the whole, I thought my garden was a rousing success. Especially considering, I never had what you would call a “green thumb.”
Before my garden, I couldn’t get anything to grow. Not even a Chia herb garden. I killed every plant I owned. Me, the descendant of farmers, couldn’t get anything to grow. My mother and grandmother could coax life from a plant that was seemingly dead. I had no such luck. That skill set completely passed me by. Until one day, my sister-in-law gave me a plant that she was sure that I could not kill: a cactus. I was dubious, knowing my track record. Nurturing plant life just wasn’t my thing. Up until that time, I had never even mowed a lawn. I was given an exotic plant once before, a “shy plant,” by a family friend. It grew leaves that would open in the light of the sun and close at night. And although it provided some entertainment for my family and friends – the leaves would contract and fold at the slightest touch – it, too, died. I even managed to stunt the growth of those bamboo shoots that (usually) curve so beautifully. It may as well have been dead because it did not grow. So a cactus? Well, we would see.
As it turned out, the cactus was the perfect plant for me. It required very little water or attention. Every time I pulled my kitchen curtain aside to peer at it, normally after months of neglect, it was taller than I’d last seen. At last! A plant that I could not kill. From that, I was encouraged to try my hand at growing a few seedlings inside my home, just to see if I could. Wondrously, they began to grow! And I was completely satisfied with this, my meager progress, until I spoke with my late Uncle Pap, a retired farmer. He looked at my tray of seedlings and said something I’ve never forgotten: “If you put those in the ground, they’ll take off!” Huh? But they were already in the ground, so to speak. Well, they were resting in little peat pots of dirt. Plus, I’d consulted the seed packets; they had to be planted on a certain schedule, in a specific month. I was skeptical. “Isn’t it too late for that, Pap?” I asked of him, feeling sad then because I’d missed my opportunity. “It’s not too late,” he immediately replied and repeated what has become a stock phrase for me: Put it in the ground and it’ll take off.
His words came to mind recently, as I was contemplating the recent release of my book. For so long, I let fear of what could happen paralyze me to do nothing. Until one day, I looked up and time had passed. Time and opportunity that I, looking back, should have capitalized on. Pap’s words come back to me, resonating in my spirit – it’s not too late. In other words, take your dream out of the safety pot of your mind. Plant it so that it can grow for everyone to see. Give your book the chance to take off. And so I did. Now, I’m praying to the God of increase that this seed will yield a bountiful harvest, even one hundred fold.