I have never been much of a gardener. So learning from Billijo this past week has been an amazing blessing, I think for both of us. Watching her and asking her questions, I have come to realize the spiritual significance to gardening, working the dirt, and the secrets of gardening. It has been a journey that began when she first started, and has continued to reveal new secrets and spiritual lessons as the yard continues to be transformed.
While I have realized that this is her gift to us, I have wanted to do what I could to be a part of it. Billijo got me involved by having me sit next to the wheelbarrow with a sifter over it. She would bring me these clumps of grass and dirt and my job was to sift off the dirt and remove that which was not good soil. As I worked to break things loose, the rich soil fell into the wheelbarrow and the remnants, stones, roots, and grass stayed on top. Removing the dirt was not always easy; sometimes I had to work at loosening the soil to allow it to drop through the sifter. As I spent time sifting, I began to think about the importance of separating out of us that which is of love, of the richness of the Infinite Presence, and that which had been growing in us, and no longer served a purpose in the transformation we were co-Creating with the Infinite Presence.
With all the bushes out from the front of the wheelchair ramp, we were left with this huge blank space and the ability to see underneath the ramp. Billijo suggested we put a retaining wall up in front of it and when the finished it looked gorgeous. However, in the construction of this wall, more secrets were revealed. The first thing she did was to lay down this layer of gravel. The gravel was important because it provided a cushion between the soil and the bricks, so they would neither sink into the dirt nor move up as the dirt expanded. It reminded me of how faith works and keeps us solid during the highs and lows of our lives. It was on this solid foundation of gravel that the bricks began to be laid down. As each brick was laid, Billijo checked it to make sure it was level. Keeping that level and solid foundation was important. If the base layer was not level, then it would have an impact on all that came after it. If our faith in our Higher Power, however, you define that is not solid, then it may crumble, fall down, or in some other way not withstand the challenging times in our lives.
As we cleaned the area, I came to understand that some plants have surface roots and others have taproots. Taproots, as I have come to learn, grow straight down into the ground searching for water and nutrients. Surface roots are easy to remove. Taproots however, are difficult and not always possible. It made me realize that is much like how we are as human beings. As we seek to evolve as human and spiritual beings, we may find it much easier to work through the surface issues. however, it is those wounds that run so deep in our soul, that are like tap roots, and require a much deeper level of work and support in pulling out and removing.
The final lesson I would like to reflect on today is the importance of flexibility. When we first began this project, Billijo had laid out this one border where there would be a separation between grass and mulch. However, after building the wall, we realized that the border needed to be moved out a few inches. Sometimes as we are beginning our journey, we have a sense of where we are heading. However, as we progress and the journey evolves, we may feel the vision of where the Infinite is leading us changing and shifting. Sometimes where we wind up is not where we thought we would be. I remember when I was in seminary, I thought I was there to go on for my doctorate and teach theology. I guess in some respects I still do, but not in the way I had envisioned. My own journey has taken its own share of twists and turns, but is where it is now because I have been willing to go with the flow and follow the Spirit’s presence and guidance in my own life. The yard is not done and I am sure it has lessons yet to reveal to me. When it does, I am sure I will be sharing them with you.