by Melodius Monk
Let’s start by disclosing this fact; I am not a gardener, at least not yet. One of the most common questions I’m asked by quests when giving them a tour of our monastery is “what does a religious brother do all day?” To which I smile, and say. “Well, it depends on the day and what I’m asked to do!” And while some parts of my day fall into a fairly routine schedule (like meals, choir rehearsal and liturgies), much of a day’s work depends on the needs of that particular day. I end up doing a wide variety of things, and often new things to which I may know little about.
This week I was asked to take care of the vegetable garden for a brother who was going to be away, to which I replied, “you realize I know almost nothing about plants” and was told, “I know, you’ll be fine, just ask for help if you need it!”
I didn’t say much initially, but this type of job sets off all kinds of panic inside my proud-self that is scared of trying new things and “messing up.” For example, tomorrow I need to plant some new cabbage, and I’m nervous. (I don’t think I’ve planted a seed since a 2nd grade science project, and there’s a lot of variables in soil, the weather, amount of sun, possible diseases etc.!!) I got some tips from a gardening friend, and the directions are pretty clear on the seed package, but I still think it will take a miracle for any plants to come from these tiny little seeds.
However, if I look past the nerves inside that make me want to quit the job before having any chance of messing it up, there’s also inside of me some excitement at this new mini-adventure and some child-like amazement that these tiny specs will grow into something edible. Maybe this is a fitting job for God to help me loosen up a bit, to have to trust others, and to look to Him for guidance.