From my journal – April 1, 2018

Today we planted our annual garden. New life into soil that (to the casual observer) looks to have been lifeless for a while. Underneath, in the blessed darkness, life is thriving. Worms chewing up what they’ve been given and creating the elements necessary for life. Secret networks of fungi miles long sending messages of resistance all winter.

Everything in here is made of death. The decay of things that used to live is feeding what wants to live now. My garden, like the one you’ve likely read about, has snakes. I held three in my hands just yesterday. There are guardians at the gates and invaders. There are little life-and-death battles happening all over if you look really close.

This whole thing is a grace economy. Grace wins every time. The failures of last year feed this year. The plant doesn’t decide what its elements become after decay. It doesn’t decide if it will give itself away. It just happens. The rain falls (or doesn’t); the sun shines (or doesn’t) – and none of it depends on how righteous the gardener has been (thank God).

That doesn’t mean attention and care aren’t necessary – too much of this or too little of that, and it’s all over. The difference is that I’m required to listen to the life that’s in the garden and follow its lead – it won’t let me force it, and it always knows what it needs most.

The dark soil beneath us was never dead – it’s the most alive thing in here. Death doesn’t make sense in this economy. It’s all self-giving creation, over and over again. How lucky I am to bear witness.


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