In two places tomato seedlings were growing. Right in the middle and on the edge of the driveway in the yard. We had not planted them and there had never been tomatoes there before. Robust plants. Thick with foliage. And when I looked closer I realized they already had blossoms that promised fruit. My favorite fruit.
I looked at my husband and began my usual barrage of questions when I don’t understand something, “How did they get here? How in the world did tomato plants get in the middle of the yard?”
My husband grinned at me, “I’m not sure, Honey.” (He handles my barrage patiently.)
We talked and discussed this oddity. We concluded that an animal must have decided to snack on last year’s tomatoes in the middle of the yard—spilling seeds into the grass. During the winter the seeds buried and sunk beneath the grass and earth. In late spring the seeds grew back through the dirt and the grass and pushed through to find the light.
Seedlings that begin this way are called volunteers.
I didn’t think about this oddity anymore until I was meeting with a friend of mine at The Cairn. She’s the precious young woman from Covered. We were discussing how to navigate daily life with and around people. People who said they were friends, but then their actions speak otherwise. We were discussing the fact that there are some people who are hurting, wounded, sad, angry, lost (for whatever reason) and they don’t want anyone speaking into their lives. But we need to love and be kind regardless. We need to care for and about them because those small spaces of kindness plants seeds. And really, most of the time, that’s all we’re asked to do—plant seeds.
And then I remembered the volunteers. I remembered the unexpected seedlings in my yard that are now almost ready to bear fruit.
Something or someone had dropped seeds onto the ground of our yard. Unknowingly a squirrel or a rabbit or bird had sat on that space of ground and eaten a tomato. And they let the seeds drop where they may.
Then the way of the growth of all things began.
We never know when or if a volunteer will rise from the seed dropped. But we need to drop them anyway.
We simply need to plant seeds: of kindness, laughter, patience, joy, understanding, encouragement and love. Just drop little seeds in the ground wherever. When we sit, stand or walk we need to eat the fruit of His grace and let the seeds spill out onto the ground.
And when the volunteers push up through the hard ground to find light, someone else will come along to water them, to stake them up, to prune them. And it’s likely that someone else beyond that will enjoy the fruit.
But the volunteers always start with a seed. Fruit always begins with a seed…
and with someone willing to spill and drop the seed onto the ground.