As Easter approaches I am reminded of a story of a young girl who received sunflower seeds to plant in her backyard. Her parents advised her as to when it was the right time to plant the seeds in the ground, and she happily did so, burying them several inches into the soil. Her parents also explained to her that it would take seven to ten days before the new plants would sprout.
Each day the girl watered the plants as she had been instructed to do. Then, when no one was looking, she would get out her small shovel out and dig up each seed, lifting it out of the ground to see if it was, in fact, sprouting. Several weeks passed and the parents wondered why none of the sunflower seeds were sprouting. The girl, overhearing her parents, reported that she had wondered the same, and went on to say that this was why she had been digging them up every day, to inspect them for signs of growth. So the mystery for the parents was solved, and the daughter learned an important lesson. It takes great patience to wait for new life to sprout, and any attempts to rush the process may in fact prevent it from happening altogether.
Easter is, of course, the ultimate story of new life. The celebration of Easter is the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection and the belief that God continues to sprout new life in our midst. In our Living Compass Lenten booklet this year the meditations focussed on the practice of letting go. In line with the lesson learned by the girl who was learning to grow sunflower plants, we are reminded that the sprouting of new life requires us to be patient, and that we are wise to learn to practice both letting go and letting come.
New life takes time to form and sprout. We can not rush the process by trying impatiently to force change or growth to happen. Growth happens at it’s own rate. The caterpillar will emerge as a butterfly in its own time frame, not ours. The adolescent will become an adult in his or her own time frame, not ours. The pain of grief will gradually subside and a new normal will emerge, but only in it’s own time. The time it takes to grow wise in one’s later years cannot be forced either, it can only be accomplished over a long period of time and then embraced.
Resurrection, and all new life, is a gift that happens around us everyday. In order to fully receive this gift of new life, we need to simply, but not easily, wait patiently for life to sprout, in its own way, and in its own time-keeping our eyes open for the miracles of new life that are happening around us all the time.
Happy Easter to who all celebrate this day, from all of us at Living Compass.