Have you ever planted a seed and forgotten about it? It took so long to grow that you thought it was a dud and wasn't going to grow at all. But then, a whole year later, a little plant pops up.
Or, more likely, you didn't even realize the seed was there. It fell off a previous plant. It blew in with the wind and landed in your soil. Then, next thing you know, there's a few beautiful flowers on an early summer day. Surprised by beauty.
It's been awhile - close to a decade, I think - when we were riding down a Mississippi road toward a friend's lakehouse. This friend had been our pastor at one time, and we loved him. We still do. Most everything else is fuzzy except a conversation we had in the car, one that planted a seed, the beginning of a change that would bloom much later on.
She lives in L.A. now, a couple of time zones away, and we haven't seen each other in years. But she sent me a message a few days ago. She talked about the way we've offered hospitality in our home and how she's never forgotten it, talks about us and our way of life with other people. I read the message to Jeff. We both made that "huh" sound, the one you make when you are surprised someone thought of you or intrigued that someone doesn't like casseroles. (Who doesn't like casseroles? Who thinks we're anything special and is inspired by us?)
But, today, thinking on her message, I'm honored and happy to think of the conversations remembered, hospitality shown, things we didn't know would matter beyond that one dinner, that one conversation, that one day in the garden. Seeds planted. Life grown.
A planting of a seed. A conversation in a car. A meal at home, one of so many other meals shared. These are easily forgotten in the way we think of forgetting, not right there at the forefront of memory. But live a little while longer, and you'll remember them, see how they're slowly growing together, making a life.
Thinking back on that conversation in the car, I remember where once I'd been closed to an idea, an idea I'd grown up thinking was wrong and bad, now I am open. Now, I see differently. When I trace it all back, I think that conversation was a seed. One of many, perhaps.
When I am discouraged about progress - in my way of thinking, in a relationship, in my music career - I hope I will pause to ask, "What's already in motion? What's already growing? For what might I wait and behold what fruit will come to be born?"
I may have forgotten the seed was there, but I'm glad I remembered to plant it.