Vestry Devotion: Pain for the Garden

Each month, Good Shepherd’s Vestry meetings begin with a devotion offered by a Vestry member, and, for the past year, we have been including these devotions in the Sheepskin. This month’s Vestry devotion is submitted by Deb Sampson. Deb is completing her second year on the Vestry and serves as a member of the Good Shepherd Choir and Contemporary Groups, the Grow Team, Faith Club and is a member of High Plains Executive Committee. She has also been actively involved in the Transition process for Good Shepherd.

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My bulb garden had been out of control for years.  My more experienced friends told me that my plants were producing fewer blooms because they were cramped and needed to be divided and replanted.  But, I've never had a bulb garden before and I'm not quite sure what to do.  Finally, I pull on the gloves, pick up the tools I think I'll need and head to the garden plot.

It's a beautiful fall day and I suspect the weather was part of my decision that today is the day.  I sit down a moment to consider everything I've heard about bulbs.  I postpone the moment of action as long as possible.  Finally, I start in with the big fork, breaking up the ground to make the search for bulbs possible.  Our Colorado clay begins to feel like concrete.  My legs shake, my back and shoulders scream. 

Wow!  What's this?  I find the first of the bulb clumps, just slightly smaller than a dinner plate.  There are large bulbs and small bulbs and tiny little bulbs all intertwined by their roots.  I hear a slight ripping sound as I begin to separate the bulbs.  Am I doing the right thing? Is this how I'm supposed to make the flowers more prolific?

This is frightening stuff.  Who am I to think I can garden?  What if I do it all wrong?  Is that little tearing sound a sign that I'm causing more problems than I'm solving?  Change is difficult.

That phrase, “Change is difficult,” was our catch phrase twenty years ago when we moved from our comfort zone of Kansas to Colorado.  There was a slight ripping sound each time we selected something to go in the garage sale, a little tearing sound each time we said goodbye to a friend.  “Change is difficult,” we said through our tears when Robert left for his new job and I stayed behind to sell the house.  Are we doing the right thing?  What if this is really a bad idea?

Change is difficult.  Yet, each day, God asks us to step out of our comfort zone, take a new step.  Is this what God wants?  Am I doing the right thing?  What if I cause more trouble than good?  Each day, God asks us to change, to become more and more faithful.

One of the problems with the garden was that I couldn't know for sure until spring if I did the right things with my bulbs.  Was this change merely painful or was it a change toward the better.  I trusted my gardener friends that I'd have a more beautiful garden in the spring.  After twenty years, we both sometimes wonder if our move was for the better.    We trust that we were right to move to Colorado.

Good Shepherd is in one of those times of painful change. Each meeting, each vote, each question brings a bit of uncertainty, another little tearing sound. Change is scary. Are we doing the right thing? Is this a really bad idea or a really great idea? God knows. We don't. That makes us nervous. So we have to trust.

The change God asks of us is like that.  We may not know for years the beauty that can result from those difficult changes. So we trust God.