I have learnt a spiritual lesson from growing potatoes. Just when they begin to show little green shoots just above the surface of the soil like this:
you are supposed to dump another inch or two of soil on top of them!
I was so excited to see these little shoots begin to appear, it felt very counter intuitive to cover them up again just as they’d reached the light, so I consulted my gardening friend Roy.
“Yes” he said, “cover them up as soon as they appear, don’t leave it too long or when you do cover them up you might break the stem”
So having done all that hard work growing, struggling towards the light, along I came with my shovel and drowned them once again in soil.
I was thinking about this process when I woke up this morning.
“It doesn’t seem very fair” I said to God, the poor little plants must feel like they are only just getting somewhere when ‘whoosh, all the lights go out again’.
There was silence from the the divine end of this conversation… he was waiting for the penny to drop.
Finally it did, with a clunk almost loud enough to be heard outside my brain:
“It makes them more fruitful – the deeper the soil you bank up the more potatoes you will grow in your pot”.
So if life feels like one step forward and two steps back at the moment, try to remember that when the lights go out and you feel buried in a deep dark hole, you might be growing in a way that will become far more fruitful than you could ever have imagined.
About 18 months ago I found this flower growing straight out of the hard, dry ground on a hillside:
I took the photo and adopted it as an image of me on my phone screen to remind me that beauty and life can flourish in unexpected places.