Only compost

Daily Reading for October 22

Receiving, and then giving back, is the way nature works. Since we are part of God’s earthly creation, we share in its cycles of living and dying. . . . Knowing that we will ultimately give back our physical selves—“these last few molecules of ‘I’”—to the earth, we can choose to live with either gloom or humor, which is delightfully related to the word humus, the Latin form of adamah.

A teacher . . . once spoke the language of the mountain valley: “Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:39). When I have learned that truth, I can apply it elsewhere, letting die what needs to die. Perhaps I can even learn to welcome change, or at least to make peace with it. Most of it I cannot control, after all. Our bodies shed dead cells, and new ones take their place. One kind of family life—life with young children—dies, so that it can grow into another kind of family life in which young adults and their parents discover a new mutuality. Our work changes, our friendships change, we move, we age, we lose dear ones. All of the dying is the compost of our lives, even as we resist it. It is, in the end, the way we live. . . .

Nature teaches me to let go of past sorrows or resentments so that I can move on. It is an environmental issue: if my inner landscape is polluted with hoarded resentments and sadness, I cannot see beyond myself to the world around me. Infertile lives beget infertile meadows, woodlands, or communities. When I allow myself to let go, I am often surprised by the power of healing, as gratuitous and surprising as the sun bursting through clouds on a dull day.

Like the plants in the mountain meadow, we are dying and growing all the time. Every event of life, no matter how tragic, can become a means of growth for us; it depends on what we do with it. There is no garbage—only compost.

From Organic Prayer: A Spiritual Gardening Companion by Nancy Roth. Copyright © 1993, 2007. From Seabury Books, an imprint of Church Publishing. Used by permission of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY.

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