Last spring I was doing small projects at my parents’ house. I had put in a new window well around one of the basement windows, and when I started to look at that whole side of the house, I thought, I might as well re-do the whole trim around the perimeter. It was covered with dead leaves, and I figured I’d, you know, get some nice edging that would meet the window well nicely, mulch the rest of the trim, and maybe plant a few things in it.
Now, I hadn’t been home for an early spring in a long time, and, well, I really had no idea what was already planted in this trim. All I saw was dead leaves, and a scraggly blueberry bush that looked like its better days had passed.
So, I began raking the dead leaves away, and all I saw was dark dirt. “Good dirt,” I thought. “I’ll think of something to plant.”
Well, I got to a patch of really wet leaves, and so I reached down to pull it up by hand. When my fingers dragged through the dirt, they struck something in the ground. “Huh,” I thought, “What’s that?”
It was a little green bud, a little shoot that had just barely pierced the surface of the dirt. I completely missed it with my eyes. “Wow. Something’s growing here.”
Then I began to feel around and look more closely. “There’s another one.” Then I kept looking, and I was amazed to find that these little guys were everywhere. Almost the whole trim was covered with them. “Well, the plant problem is taken care of.” I mulched the trim, and after a month, it was filled with beautiful green plants. God already had a plan. Nothing to worry about. See, I was so focused on the dead leaves, it never occurred to me that there could be something new growing there.
You know what, I think that when it comes to looking at the Church and at society, most of us are like me in my gardening. We are oblivious to the great things that God is doing. Why? Because we are focused on the problems.
We focus on the culture of death, and we are afraid. We focus on the dead leaves and we think there’s nothing but dead leaves. We focus on bad priests, bad Masses, church closings, wars, broken families and schools, sexual confusion, bad politics, bad media, a God-less culture. We focus on all the darkness, all the problems. We forget that those things are on their way out, they are dying. We forget that God does His greatest works when things are the darkest, that new buds come out from under dead leaves.
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Is 43:18-19)
Let’s all forget the dead leaves. Let’s all embrace the new buds.