Dear friends,

When I reflect on the theme of our Stewardship Campaign for this year, Seeds of Hope, I am reminded of my grandpa’s backyard garden.  It was a piece of art. There were rows of dirt in perfectly mounded, bean poles set with precision, tomato cages creating a webbed design, and long furrows for irrigation.  My grandpa took his gardening very seriously because it would yield crops for the pantry, plus it gave him joy in his retirement years.

One year, he and my grammie decided to do their own composting to save money.  Coffee grounds went into the barrel. Bits of leftovers went into the barrel.  Peelings from potatoes and zucchini went into the barrel.  You get it, any food product not consumed went into the barrel, which was then faithfully rotated to insure proper mulching.  Grandpa began using the mulch as soon as the snow thawed to prepare the soil for planting, which was a big occasion at their home and usually done over Easter vacation when I was there to help carry the individual seed packages.

When I arrived that summer for vacation, grandpa’s garden was in full growth but there was something different about my grandpa’s demeanor towards his garden.  He wasn’t as pleased as in years gone by, and my grammie gave him plenty of space to sort it out.  What I later learned was that during the composting, my grammie had also scooped the cantaloupe seeds into the mixture and now my grandpa had cantaloupe runners weaving their way through his meticulous plantings.  His sculpted garden had been infiltrated by an unexpected crop.  Grandpa did not pull these vines but instead tended them with great reluctance, and yes, they had a bumper crop of melons that year.  They also decided that maybe composting wasn’t that important.

It is easy to chuckle about this story, but I wonder how we react to unexpected changes in our hopes and plans.  God sees our plans and often will add surprises which can confound us. It’s okay.  One day we will find the joy as we look back at what God has done, so let us not give up planting seeds of hope in our future.