Image: a sign in front of green grass, with a patch of dirt in front of it, reads, “Please don’t walk or let your dog walk in the zinnia seed bed, so all the neighborhood can enjoy the coming flowers. Thanks”
I saw this sign on my walk this morning. One of our neighbors has a flower bed that is annually filled with zinnias accompanied by a sign inviting neighbors to clip and take some flowers to enjoy. The flowers aren’t visible yet this year, but they’ll come if they are given the space, time, and nourishment they need, and then the whole neighborhood will benefit from their brilliant beauty.
I’ve been thinking about the many ways in which we need gentle places when we are in the midst of the hard, painful, good work of healing and growing in body, mind, and spirit. God exposes and heals our hurts, but God also provides safe places to be when we are doing the vulnerable work of healing. One of the most godly things we can do on this earth is to help provide gentle places for people who are recovering, growing, and transforming. Healed and transformed people heal and transform the world, so supporting this work is always for the good of the community at large.
Healing and growing can be vulnerable, awkward, painful, and uncomfortable. When we recognize that others are in this space, let us be gentle, because what looks like dirt may just be the fertile soil covering up new seedlings. Don’t tread on the flowers, even when we can’t see them yet. When we give them room to grow, our whole community will reap the benefits.
I’m dreaming of a world where everyone can thrive exactly as they were created to. If the concept of Shalom includes everything needed for the flourishing of every person and every group, I wonder what it would look like for everyone to have these sacred growing spaces.
What do you need in order to flourish? What do your fellow image bearers need?