We are called to progress, to move. We’ve made that word, progress, a noun, but its inherent sense, even as a noun, is movement. We are called to move and to keep moving.
I sometimes feel a bit whelmed by that, by the idea that I have to make sure that I’ve moved by the end of the day. It’s like I’ve been given a garden, like the garden is the gift, but I can’t see the gift for the work. I look at it and all I see is the hoe, the rake, the trowel, the shovel, the shears… And all I feel is the sun, the sweat, the hours, the row, the clods, the rocks, the fertilizer, the barrow…
It may be that, while growing up, I discovered that “let’s” meant “you.” I had so many jobs that began as “Let’s…” Like “let us…” clean the garage, rake the back yard, weed the beds… but what they turned into was me working by myself. And it felt a bit like bait and switch. I can remember going with this bit of excitement, the expectation of time together with my dad and learning that it was just a chore. It wasn’t that he didn’t go off to do something else that also needed to get done, but it was somewhere else usually. I’d be working on whatever it was by myself.
So, maybe I get a bit hesitant with God. When God calls me into the garden, into the weeding and feeding, maybe I miss the expectation of harvest and fruit because I expect to be doing it on my own. I can’t quite imagine the cultivating will include partnership… in each moment.
I don’t think my dad was actually setting me up. I don’t think he was consciously thinking of tricking me, pretending that he was going to work with me on something so he could just get me doing it. It was just the way he talked. But, that didn’t mitigate my disappointment. And, he didn’t get it when I complained about the switch. In his mind it was always the work I was being sent to do.
With God, I’m discovering that it isn’t a chore. It is always partnership because I’m always supposed to be learning. I’m always supposed to be moving with him into a new discovery. It’s not work that needs to get done. It’s cultivation of what is growing. It’s making sure that it grows well, hoeing what sucks life out of the good plant and nurturing it with sustenance. So my progression is a daily engagement with the new thing, not straightening up, organizing, polishing to keep the old in place. And it is always done together with God.