This morning I put the kettle on to boil and then headed out to the asparagus patch to harvest some of its skyward reaching shoots. Jonah and I have been spending a lot of time digging in the dirt this spring. He’s been teaching sustainability. I call it “restoring Eden.”
In the garden, much like everywhere, we don’t know what we are doing. We refer to books for advice and promptly forget their guidance. Standing amid the fertile weeds, we must forgive in advance our failings. It feels like the only way to proceed is to call this not toil but surrender; not labor but opportunity. Anything is possible here. Surely something will grow.
On my way to the asparagus, I pop a single red strawberry into my mouth. I used to save these sweet offerings for the children, feeling double delight in their pleasure. Now that they are grown, I’m learning, once again, how to please myself. I’m surprised that this is a work in unraveling and not simply second nature.
The strawberries are ripening one a day so far, each a sacramental offering to hold on the tongue in communion. Yes, if we relied on this crop we would starve. And yes, if we weren’t thankful for every humble thing, we would also starve.
What do I know of joy ~
except it is a word that I have savored?
A word so much like God,
full of promise and tender relating.
What do I know of Joy,
except it is a gift that I have opened
to find the forgiveness, wonder and welcome
that breathe life into my life?
Next week I will speak to a class on the presence and practice of joy. Today I feel I can’t do this. I have so little to say. For the Greeks, the word Joy is Char, from the word Charis, which means grace. What do I know, then, of grace, except the lovely way it slips in and holds us when we rest in our own unknowing. So I might say,
Give up wisdom.
Give up thinking that
you should always know
what to do; what to say;
what is skillful
or even best.
until you can enjoy
your own curious and frail
Feel how freeing
this actually is.
Sure, celebrate your triumphs,
but also, see if you can love
the tender place of unknowing.
Accept how vulnerable you are-
how possible it is
to be wrong, confused,
imperfect and adored.
Why do I love, as much as anything, a bowl of apples, a wooden spoon?