The parable of the mustard seed drives me a bit batty. It’s not the smallest seed. Basil is considerably smaller and lavender seeds are impossibly tiny. Also, it does not grow into a big bush. Perhaps the mustard of Jesus’ day was just bigger than the mustard I know, who knows. I mean, I get the point of the parable, but if I had to choose a seed it would be a carrot seed. It is just as small as a mustard seed, but where as you can just toss a mustard seed wherever, forget about it and still get decent results, carrot seeds need tending and care. They can take as much as three weeks to germinate and they need daily watering till they do. Meanwhile the fast growing weeds can quickly choke out the delicate carrot seedlings. But the end result is so worth it, sweet and nutritious, especially fall carrots that make it through a freeze.
That’s more what faith is to me. A seed that needs daily care and nurturing to realize the fullness of its life-giving potential, made sweeter after weathering the harshness of life.
I had to waste a considerable amount of carrot seed before I got a decent bed of carrots. Last summer I planted carrots three times before finally reaching success. The first bed I planted about a week before going away for a few days. I came back to a severely, dry cracked bed and no matter how much I watered, the seeds never germinated. The next planting I tried to correct by watering a little everyday, but a month later, still no seedlings in sight. I resigned myself to one more planting. This time I found a length of soaker hose and ran it every day for an hour. Success! Though perhaps a month too late. The carrots were delicious but just didn’t get big enough before winter stunted their growth. However, I finally had a recipe for success. Subsequent carrot sowings have been more successful, though I still lose some to weeds.
I am a person of faith today because of all the people in my life who have watered and tended the carrot seeds of my faith over the course of my life. I don’t have some dramatic story of losing my faith and coming back to it, or finding faith after years of searching, or any trauma or major life event that forged my faith in the fire so to speak. Instead it has been the slow, steady watering by many faithful souls along the way. Is that a story worth reading about? I hope so, because I think it is true for many folks. Ordinary lives, lived faithfully.
Folks often suggest that I write a book about my adventures in farming. Perhaps I will one day. For now though, I have lots of stories to share, reflections on food and farming and how I find faith in the midst. I’m not a great photographer and I doubt you’ll find any earth shattering new insights here, but I hope you’ll find some carrot seeds for your own faith.