Let it be a process.
Those were the words I heard last night. Gentle words. A hearty reminder.
I went back to school last week. But before I am “official,” I signed up to take a crash course in German. My PhD program is old school (alte Schule, if you will) – I must learn a research language. For now, it is a hoop to jump through. A requirement on a checklist. A checklist I am trying to not let define my worth or ability.
That’s hard though because my old paradigm reared its head this week only three classes in. I don’t know this! I’m not getting it! I cried on the back porch to my husband. I don’t know if I can do this. It was emotion that needed to surface; it needed to be named, and I needed to cry.
As my dear friend Jenny pointed out this morning, I chose this. But in this old paradigm I choose knowing and not learning. The irony of this occurs to me as I venture down a path to become a professor – an expert know-er.
However, my paradigm sparkled in a new way last night as I sat with my eyes closed and heard Matthew 6:25-34. The famous “do not worry passage.” I have always viewed these verses, as did others around the table, as in God take it from me… but then behind my eyelids I saw verse 33: But strive first for God’s kingdom and righteousness…..
There still is action; there is still a process. “Do not” does not mean don’t do anything. It remains a process of righteousness which I have always equated with compassionate maturity, understanding and LEARNING. It’s not about knowing instant peace or gratification for me. It’s about journeying through it, whatever it is, with the Spirit, and somehow this was a comfort last night.
I laughed about the irony of wanting to conquer versus learn. I have to let this process be what it is because otherwise I will cut myself off from the beauty of understanding…. The depth of beauty truly is found in a journey, not a destination.
And once again my teacher is my garden. We have failed so many times out of thinking that we knew better. Then we worried. It would have been easier to just give up. But we invested and showed up and married our ways to the way God intended it. Coincidentally, a tiny miracle happened here in Monrovia – we grew a bounty.
Let me just say this though, this isn’t about a “success story” or the American Dream. We grew a bounty because we switched our lenses of what we were striving for – we work/ed incredibly hard. But I think the first few times we didn’t know what kind of work it was to strive first for God’s kingdom. It meant we had to look around our environment, find learned people to help us, and value and decipher our own passions and gifts more than just trying to know or do it all at once. And really therein, have we glimpsed a small part of an abundant life as learners.
So as a learner, I will take this lesson to heart, as Ich lerne Deustch (I learn German ).
As part of my commitment to help your own learning processes, here are some guides who help switch our paradigms again and again – garden-wise that is.
These first two books are our go-to manuals. John Jeavon’s is a certified genius and if we had time, we would try to learn all of the science in this book. Namely, we use it for the companion planting and natural pest control sections. For that, it is worth wading through the science.
The second is the encyclopedia of everything plant you ever wanted to learn about. There are great tips on what grows in your area as well as how to care for it.
The third is one which allowed us to re-envision our front and backyards to be outside of the norm. We are the only house on the block with no grass and this book was the launching pad for us!
The last book is for you Southern Californians. This is a handy little guide to our locale, explains not only vegetables, but plants that do well year round too.