Here on the shortest and coldest days, I’ve had some exciting conversations about gardening. When it comes to horticulture, I joke, that I feel most like my saviour. We have both been mistaken for gardeners! I am not a skilled or particularly knowledgeable gardener but I am enthusiastic about our Street Hope Community Garden because I see it as symbolic of our vocation as Street Hope.
Before Christmas I had a great conversation with a friend who has a distinctly emerald thumb. He was very helpful in coaching us to an abundant garlic crop this past year and had some very helpful advice for the coming growing season. This was a great conversation but the most stellar conversation came with N. He is a very tall, strong and energetic guy. We met when he came to our Thanksgiving supper where we served the produce of our garden in the form of a gigantic stew. The idea of growing vegetables and putting on a meal captured his imagination! He cannot wait for the snow to melt so he begin to help. This is an answer to our prayers. Until this time most of the physical labour has fallen to me and as much as I may still think like an adolescent, my body reminds me that I am in my seventh decade. N. wants to enthusiastically spend his energy on this project.
In a recent conversation we were chatting about this and how God has been working in his life. N. shared how he is emotionally broken but working with the Street Hope Community is healing him. I am grateful and excited about his help, but I am more excited about the work God is doing in his life. I have often said that the Street Hope Community Garden is a prophetic statement that from a rock pile (a life of brokenness) God brings life. We are seeing that prophetic vision played out in N.’s life! I can’t imagine a more encouraging thing than that.
I had another encouraging conversation this week. V. has long suffered with mental illness. One of the symptoms of her illness is anxiety. These anxieties often attack at night and cause sleeplessness which in turn causes more anxiety, and on it goes. At our prompting and example, V. began to read the Bible when she was feeling anxious. She fell in love with the Psalms. In the past few months she has read through the Psalms twice! At a recent worship event she said “If I had known how helpful reading the Bible is I’d have done it years ago!” She is a happier and healthier person because of this new discipline in her life. For her it is help and health and life. Many of us read the Bible but only seldom realise its power in the same way as my friend. I have decided that I will approach scripture more expectantly, knowing that what God does for V. he can do for me. How much help and health and life have I missed because I do not read with the same attitude that my friend illustrates?