In our back garden there grows an ever-encroaching pumpkin patch.  Four plants have spread their tentacles into corners and over fences that were never planned to occupy it.  To see it is to observe a mass of leaves and vine, impressive greenery no less, but until recently I was perturbed by an apparent lack of pumpkins.  The vine expanded but no fruit were in evidence.

A recent foray into the centre of the patch, lifting up leaves and looking into recesses uncovered 14 pumpkins of various shapes and size.  By looking under leaves and moving through the patch, I was surprised by its fruitfulness.  There may well be more, because I was not able to survey the whole patch at close range.  But these fruit had grown under cover of leaves and the protection they afforded.

Changes and transitions in our lives often come in the same way.  Long times pass without apparent change, until one day we discover a new attitude, or a depth of love that we never knew.  These things are a surprise to us only because they are growing beneath the surface of our lives, nourished in communion with God, tended in the daily interactions with people.  Changes in our lives often surface dramatically, even though they have been growing steadily in the privacy of contemplation and prayer.

The fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) do not appear overnight, but will grow within as we surrender ourselves daily to God.  How well are we tendering the garden?

February 26, 1995
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