The arrival of Spring heralds commencement of the gardening season. Many people turn their eyes to last year's overgrown vegie patch and consider afresh what to plant and where to plant it. It is a hobby in which the partnership between person and nature results in an abundance of fresh vegetables.
For us the task of sowing is an adventure, in the hope of a miracle of a plant springing up, and vegetables taking shape before our very eyes. But consider the farmers in many parts of Australia as they undertake the same action - filled with anxiety as they turn their eyes to the sky wondering whether the necessary rains will come to allow the crop to grow and ripen. For them there is no turning the hose on to water; their partnership with nature is fundamentally different - their livelihood depends on it working constructively. If our crop fails, we go down to the market and buy; if their crop fails, they cannot afford to buy anything. A long spell of dry weather does not provide opportunity to enjoy the garden, but instead threatens the viability of their crops.
There are always events in life which cause us to simply shrug our shoulders and walk away saying "Oh well!" when the crop does not come, and we don't think it's a big deal. But those same events might be catastrophic for someone else - they might threaten their livelihood, or their sense of self-esteem. Unless we take the opportunity to look at the issue from their perspective, we might consider them to have over-reacted and wonder at their judgment.
The essence of supportive
community is recognising the times and places where events have a deep
impact on others, and being there to support, care, listen, and grow together
- learning to reach out to one another - caring how our neighbour's garden
grows. Is that the love we know and share?
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