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"Purity of Harvest"

"Ever since I was a child, I was known for a really bad black thumb—I could not grow anything, and even worse, plants seemed to die under my supervision, even the plastic kind."

Cookbook author Monica Bhide in her Chicago Sun-Times 13 Apr. 2011 article could very well be describing me. Having been gifted with a plant and a challenge to care for it last year, I embarked on the adventure of turning myself into a green thumb. In the process, I am learning many valuable lessons about life.

There are some seeds that break their coat and sprout overnight just by soaking in water, as in the case of the munggo seeds. So in three days, I would have a harvest for cooking and feeding the family. On the other hand there are some seeds that are better planted in soil, as in the case of chili and coriander seeds. Each day I would check my containers and - nothing! No sign of life, and it had been a week. I began to fret, wondering if there was a step I missed in the process of seed planting. Then upon inspection on the eighth day I saw the sprouts breaking through the surface of the soil.

Upon reflection, I realized that every circumstance that we face in life requires a specific level of preparation, patience, and trust. Some are easy and take less time; some are demanding and take more time. But the promise of a harvest is inherent in all. I am learning about one key ingredient: mindfulness.

The dictionary defines mindfulness as "the trait of staying aware of your responsibilities (heedfulness)". It is also "the trait of being observant and paying attention (attentiveness)". And it is said to be "the practice of giving complete and non-judgmental attention to one's present experience".

Mindfulness helps us to respect the different processes of growth and life, to prepare properly to ensure maximum harvest, to have patience with the various factors that affect development, and to trust God wholeheartedly when we have diligently done all we could, the best way we know how.

But these definitions leave out one important element of mindfulness – our mindfulness toward others, how we view people in our lives. Although we share the same stages of human development, still every individual is unique. Some are great in this area, others in that. Some are at a high point in their personal experience, while others around us suffer silently and anonymously. Being a Christian means being mindful not just of our own struggles and victories, weaknesses and strengths, but those of our brothers and sisters in Jesus. As St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “For we also are weak in Him, yet we shall live in Him because of the power of God directed toward you.” (2 Corinthians 13: 4b)

My chili and coriander seedlings are now about three inches tall, and I am excited—I am not a black thumb after all! I am officially becoming a green thumb. I look forward to the day of harvest, when they can go from their containers to my family’s table. Even more so, I am looking to the fruits of the Spirit to come forth in each of us: the blade, the head, and then the mature grain for the harvest of the Kingdom of God in our midst. (Mark 4: 28-29)

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