This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile
from Jerusalem to Babylon:
“Build houses and settle down;
plant gardens and eat what they produce.
Marry and have sons and daughters;
find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage,
so that they too may have sons and daughters.
Increase in number there; do not decrease.
Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile.
This chapter waits for me. It sits in the corners of every room and stares at me. These words have been following me around quietly for quite some time. I avoided them for awhile. I would peek at them out of the corner of my eyes pretending not to see them but they just take up so much space, and they carry so much weight, that it became more and more difficult to arrange my thoughts without bumping into them. They never forced themselves in. Patient and quiet they waited. And waited.
We had become so accustomed to transition.
We had moved seven times in seven years.
plant a garden
We have dreams of new adventures in new places.
seek the city to which
you've been carried
This week I was inspired/reminded by a new Insta-friend to enjoy my view. This one. Right here in the desert. Where I've been planted. And as "the hundreds" arrive and set up camp for the summer and I begin to close windows in the afternoons and kick on the A/C a little more and a little more, I have to choose it. Out loud. His higher ways. I take deep breaths and press into this place like a yoga pose that hits that stubborn tight spot that just doesn't want to give. I see the good things provided us. I see reasons why we are here in this season. I do. I soak in them, I log them in gratitude, I add them to my list of 1000 Gifts AND my adventurous heart wants to run far away to explore and discover! I'm not talking about a vacation. I don't need "a break" or just another passport stamp. I don't have a list of places I want to visit. I have a list of places I'd still like to live. I'm talking about grafting in to a new local experience. The rhythm of daily life lived.
And so I go water my Jeremiah 29 garden because my soul knows well that, for now, this is where we have been planted. The seeds have sprouted and pushed their way up through the rich compost. The transplants are surviving. And every morning as I cultivate those beds of wealth they remind me that things can survive and even grow in hostile climates. In exile. Each little leaf whispers hope and promises. Our natural world shouts truth high and low and, second to my love affair with the sea, the act of cultivating a piece of this earth teaches me more about the order of it all than anything else.
I am constantly pressing into that tight spot where dreams and ambition collide with surrender and patience. I seem to always be working this out. Over and over. Both are good. It's AND, not OR. I can be content and wanting to wander at the very same time. There is a time for each in every season. Just like the garden. And just like the garden, I can read and research and plan and design, but at the end of the day, beauty comes from attention and tending and presence such that tiny growth is always noticed and changes in seasons are sensed, not scheduled.
Here's to soil under my fingernails, here and now.