(Originally posted: August 3, 2011)
So here I am–hot, sweaty, slightly dehydrated, with dirt under my nails and an odd rash appearing on my arm. And I’m loving it! While the days have been a lot hotter than expected, we have done a lot of restoration work in the prairie, weeded, pruned, and picked in the garden and surrounding orchards, and lobbed off a fair amount of prairie wood brush.
This afternoon a naturalist who started the monastery’s restoration project came to give us a tour. We picked various seeds both for replanting and also for sharing with other restoration projects around the area. While we were walking waist deep through the tall grass to find the seed, I couldn’t help but think of the main theme for our spirituality sessions: resilience. Even as we walked through the sea of blue grass and shoulder high blossoms, flattening out a path behind us so that we could get to the batch of flowers in the middle of the field, I knew that the same grass would pop back up after the first rain. There is a resilency to the prairie that we learn from seeing a seed go from a young plant, stretch up to the sky, flower, return to multiple seeds, spread through the prairie, and start again. In one of the Apostle Paul’s letters, he speaks of the importance of us also dying as seed (or to our egos as often translated for 21st century spirituality) in order to grow to new life and produce new seed that will spread. Seeing the very practical base of his analogy reminds me of the importance of letting that fiesty ego die at times in order to grow into a stronger self based on love and faith.
As I prepare for a year long chaplaincy, seeing this connection between our own lives and the life of the world around us helps me know that we as human beings are not that unique. We just like to hang onto our false selves and our egos a little longer than other species, and learning to let go becomes a very key struggle. But that struggle is key to the new lives that we grow into, and the new strength and resliency that we have after overcoming trauma. I know that I’ll miss walking through the prairie to have this daily reminder once I return to DC–but at least for now I can continue removing invasive species, pruning away erring branches, weeding out the garden, and collecting a seed stock that will see me through the future years.
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To read Sara’s first post about being a returning Volunteer in Community, go to Spiraling In and Out.