Milkweed, Giftedness, and Becoming Your True Self

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Jesus (in John 12:24)

Milkweed in autumn (click to enlarge)–photo by Julie McCarty

When I was a child, we loved to play with milkweed seeds, watching them float away like bubbles on the wind. I was reminded of this recently when I spotted this milkweed plant in Lebanon Hills Regional Park here in Eagan.

Seeing these seeds bursting forth makes me think of all the hopes and dreams lying dormant within each of us. In my forties, it felt like life was “over” (I’m so old!) –and yet here I am in my early fifties, eagerly learning new things, such as watercolor painting, digital photography, and gardening techniques.

The good Lord gives us many gifts and talents deep within ourselves. Is there something you have always wanted to do, but never have gotten around to doing it?  Chances are, it’s not too late. You may need to modify the goal or alter your plan a bit, but that unique packet of gifts inside you is still there.

But here’s the thing about seeds: some part of our life activities may seem to “die” in order to make room for something new. The old “something” may be basically good or perhaps something that is no longer working for us, but we decide to focus our efforts on this new thing. After all, there are only so many hours in the day.

If there is something you really feel called to do, some deep desire in your heart, ask God to show you the way. Take one step in that direction and see what happens.

Allow the “wind” of the Divine Spirit to carry the seeds within you wherever God desires. Something good is bound to happen.

Until next time, Amen! 

Waiting for Spring

Waiting for Spring 2 -- Photo by Julie McCarty 2011

 

I took this photo a couple of weeks ago in Lebanon Hills Regional Park, a place not far from my home in Eagan, Minnesota. We’ve had more snow than usual this year, and on this day, the sun was out (on and off!) and there was a temporary thaw underway.

It may be difficult for people in warmer climates to imagine the joy I felt walking outside in weather like this, but it was exhilarating. The milder temperatures of the day allowed me to take deep breaths and walk freely across the crunch, crunch, crunch under my feet. Lebanon Hills is such a huge area of woods, meadows and lakes that I felt the wonder and happiness I often feel when submerged in a nature walk.

The canoes in the picture, the little naked patch of land, and the water sitting on top of the frozen lake remind me that spring is coming–even if it seems like winter lasts forever. Little by little, the daylight hours are growing longer, something that gives me renewed energy.

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the church season called “Lent,” a word that comes from the English word for “spring,” the time of year when the days lengthen (Lent, lengthen). Just as the warmer temperatures melt the snow, we allow God to melt the places in our hearts that are harsh, icy, or cold. We focus more intentionally on spiritual things to make room for whatever growth the Spirit wants for us. We die to sin in order to be ready for the springtime of resurrection.

On this day, I wish you a good Ash Wednesday and a very blessed Lent. Until next time, Amen!

P.S. If you want to see a larger version of the photo for your own meditation, try clicking on the picture.