Cursing and Planting
Cursed be the day I was born! May the day my mother bore me not be blessed! Why did I ever come out of the womb to see trouble and sorrow and to end my days in shame? – Jeremiah 20:14, 18 (NIV)
My partner and I are, ahem, not young. But we are novices at some things, and gardening is one of them. A couple of years ago, when we were putting our first vegetables in the ground, a good friend advised us that, although climate collapse is imminent, one of the ways humanity can have a positive impact on the unknown future is by ensuring the health of the soil for the creatures that remain.
In the months since dispensing that advice, our friend has frequently grieved with us about how little impact she is able to have on the coming death of the planet. Like Jeremiah, who was literally bound in stocks when he wailed this curse, she feels that her urgent message about the danger of climate change has been constrained, and that her voice has gone unheeded.
In another place in Jeremiah, the prophet advises those who know that the world is ending to build gardens anyway. So I plant the seedlings my friend passes on and imagine kale and sunflowers and pumpkins this season, and slightly richer soil in some future day to come. And I know my friend’s words were not spoken in vain, but instead have found fertile soil and are taking root.
Holy Creator, give us hearts to hear the cries of all who love this planet and yearn for her health and wholeness. Amen.
Rev. Jennifer Garrison (formerly Brownell) is a writer, spiritual director and pastor living in the Pacific Northwest. Her published work most recently appeared in the book The Words of Her Mouth: Psalms for the Struggle, available from The Pilgrim Press.