I didn't really intend to take a break between Sunday and today, but I find sometimes that writing on a daily basis is a challenging discipline...and sometimes the task is made harder by the fact that I have so many things I'd like to write about, I can't seem to choose a topic.
Circumstances collided this week to create such a challenge, and frankly, I'm in a very cranky mood today. I found out last night that I have a stress fracture in my left foot...nothing terminal or even really serious, but because I've worked hard for the past several years to develop my capacity for jogging and 5K races, it's depressing to be sidelined for the next 6 weeks.
Today's gospel reading was from Mark, chapter 4...the parable of the sower. Funny isn't it, how you can read a story so many times over a period of decades, and then see something for the first time that you've never noticed before...? In the story, Jesus is telling the story of this farmer...he throws some seed on dry and rocky ground....the sun scorches the seeds and they die before producing any crop. Then the farmer throws seed on ground and the weeds grow up around the plants...choking them off before they produce any crop...
And then...the farmer throws seed on good ground, and Jesus says that this seed produces a huge harvest...30, 60...even a 100 times greater than the planting itself.
It occurred to me today, for the first time...the seed that produced a big harvest also had to deal with the hot sun and weeds...all plants everywhere have to deal with the elements...with obstacles to growth.
The difference wasn't that the seed didn't experience difficulties or threats...but the seed was planted in fertile soil, and was able to grow in spite of the elements.
As I sit here with my foot elevated and covered by an ice pack, I can't help but reflect on the fact that challenges often derail me spiritually. I am easily distracted by the weeds of life...easily discouraged...and I think I need to cultivate my spiritual soil more carefully.
Stress fractures...financial challenges...relationship woes...the weeds and scorching sun of life present themselves in many different ways. The trick is to remain fruitful in the midst of it all.