Finding Hope in Life’s Bare Soil

Finding Hope in Life’s Bare Soil February 16, 2019


I started my first tray of seeds yesterday: the heirloom viola known as ‘Johnny Jump Ups.’ The pretty packet from Renee’s Garden Seeds assures me they are edible though I have never sprinkled them on salads or used them to decorate a cake. To me, they are simply one of those harbingers of spring–able to withstand cold nights if set out early in pots and willing to seed themselves all over the garden in order to return year after year.

It is early for seed-starting where I live. However, it was also sixty degrees yesterday, and no gardener can withstand that kind of temptation. Our blood responds the way I imagine sap rises in sugar maple trees. Snow or no snow, our thoughts are consumed with spring.

The transition to a new season is often painful.

We sow seeds of hope, and the result, for many weeks, is a tray of dirt and little else.

A few years ago, my sister gave us a children’s picture book that captures this hard, hopeful, in-between season perfectly. And Then It’s Spring draws our attention to the color of transition. It’s isn’t the bright white of winter snow, it isn’t the vivid green of new spring, it is brown that has, over time, mysteriously become “a more hopeful shade of brown.”

Today, the temperature has dropped again. I couldn’t find the extension cord, so my tray of viola seeds is sitting on the cold kitchen table rather than the heating mat on my basement potting table. But the whole effort has me looking for shades of hopeful brown.

In the garden (yes, that is a snowdrop flower behind a still-unmelted clump of snow).

In my child (yes, those were the words I’m sorry from the brother who never is).

In my work (yes, the list still feels endless, but the items I’ve ticked off should bear fruit one day).

Here’s to the hope hiding beneath life’s bare soil. For, really, is there any other kind?

But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? (Rom. 8:24)

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