Yesterday, I began to work in the flower beds in the back yard, ahead of the rain. I’m a bit delayed in starting this task, due to our early May trip to California, and the weeds have taken hold and the grass has inched back into the gardens. I worked for a couple of hours, then loaded up the wheel barrow with sticks and bits of rose canes. As I tipped them out into the brush pile, I made a discovery. The young men who mowed during our absence also raked the clippings – lots and lots of clippings – and put them in the brush pile. I was unreasonably excited – it felt like I had been given an unexpected gift. I gathered them up and heaped them onto the cleaned up beds. These relatively new beds, established in a yard created by fill, need all the organic help they can get. Heaps and piles of grass clippings – like a pile of gold.
The most fertile soil for plants to grow is compost: grass clippings, kitchen waste, plants from the garden that have died, dead leaves. What is leftover, discarded – garbage – created the most fertile soil.
Flannery O’Connor wrote that conversion is a lifelong process of turning away from one’s own egocentricity and seeing oneself in “a kind of blasting, annihilating light” that allows us to see ourselves realistically so that we can turn from our sin.
God gives hope and new life and possibility in the places where we least expect it: Pain. Garbage.