Things I Have Learned Since the Lockdown

  1. My husband doesn’t have much real estate behind his ears.
    As a front line worker, but not in direct patient contact, my husband still has to wear a mask at his place of employment. Many of the masks are too small and pull down his ears, with a Dumbo effect. When he was able to secure some homemade ones with loops behind the ear, the loops were often too thick and pulled his ears down, as there wasn’t enough “back of ear” to support it. He’s taken to ordering some on Etsy and is trying to rehab the ones gifted to him with a sewing kit. I never really thought about the back of my husband’s ears, but it’s a conversational piece now.
  2. Quarantine Recipes means nothing goes to waste.
    Simple syrup and moonshine. Jasmine rice with sauteed onions and cheddar cheese. Eating a bunch of small random things in the fridge as a meal (Tonight was a hotdog, half a can of tomato soup, crackers with peanut butter and jelly, and cheese slices, followed by fresh strawberries for dessert) – I’m trying to save the actual meals I made for the work week. We are freezing bread and milk and stocking up on rice and other long term stable foods. “How much butter did this take?” my husband asks as he eats a homemade meat pie I made from scratch – both the crust and filling. “A cup of butter, two sticks.” “Oh my God Simonne, we can’t go through butter like that.” Needless to say, I’ll be holding back on the cookies and pastries. We worry that supply chains with fresh food might become a luxury instead of a staple if things really get off the rails, so we’re trying to use less of everything and freeze as much as we can. It’s our way of being proactive instead of reactive, that’s all.
  3. I’ve got friends in old places.
    I’ve managed to make connections with my past. A boyfriend from high school contacted me, but it was really a pitch for a business venture, which I am wholly unequipped to do. He was not interested in my technical writing expertise. I burst out laughing when he wrote I would be a great pick for his sales department because of my extroverted nature. Hello? INFJ here and I’m awkward as…well, you know. I suddenly remembered why our relationship never worked. I reconnected with a friend who was a collegemate of mine. I’ve rediscovered her blog and have thoroughly enjoyed our correspondence. A pen pal I had in middle and high school got back in touch with me and we hope to FaceTime soon!
  4. I can’t do church online.
    I got called out for it, but I cannot bring myself to remote into a worship service via my internet connection. The whole thing is unappealing to me. My church did a BYOBAGJ (Bring Your Own Bread and Grape Juice) to a Zoom session during Holy Week and I could not. It felt so inauthentic. I also hesitated to do a Zoom bible study, but now I’m rethinking that, simply because I have no contact outside of my Pray As You Go App – which is about as far as I will go with the online stuff.
  5. I’m not crocheting much.
    Back in the pre-pandemic days of yore, if I was sitting, I was crocheting. I bought more yarn, thinking I would turn out an Afghan a week, yet I’ve barely picked up my hook. With the stress of everything, I am perfectly content to just sit. And be.
  6. Life isn’t all that different.
    If you take away the fact beaches are closed, no more causal grocery trips, no church, and nothing is open, my life is about the same. I go to work. I come home. I putz in the garden. I run. I write. I watch an old German soap opera. Getting together with friends is a Herculean effort that requires much advanced planning in normal times – and now, I’m not going anywhere near them in fear I’m an asymptotic carrier, as I am still working in an office and seeing patients. I’ve basically been quarantining for years. I don’t mind.

In the Desert

I know Lent is the proverbial wilderness exploration in the liturgical calendar, but as someone who doesn’t follow the crowd – even when I choose to – I find myself in a wilderness in the season of Easter, this side of Pentecost.

I’m sure part of it’s the lockdown and lack of social interaction outside of my husband and my co-workers (that I barely see, I’m tucked away in the back). I’ve tried to keep up with friends via text – mostly just asking how they are and how all this is impacting their particular circumstance. I’m still working, I don’t have kids – quite boring compared to some of the cataclysmic situations my friends find themselves attempting to navigate with no outside help.

I’m a perpetually show-up-early-to-everything person, so it’s no surprise I’m hitting peri-menopause in my late 30’s like my mom. No one prepared me for the night sweats and other symptoms. In some ways, I feel like I’m twenty again and in other ways, I am reacting to situations that would have never crossed my threshold for fury before. My husband was convinced I had a fever the other night – but I knew it was just me being warm. I’ve always been an even-keeled person, but predictable hormone surges are causing an intensity in me that is unfamiliar. I’m trying to adjust to my new normal – like a super-power I have to learn to control so it doesn’t control me. I’m sure it will all change again as this phase of life progresses.

If it’s possible to socially distance from yourself, I’m in the thick of it.

I’m far from alone in this. I find myself drawn to the stories of the Desert Fathers and Mothers of the early church. They lead a monk-like existence in the middle of nowhere wastelands. Their days were spent living off the land, in contemplative prayer, quietness, and offered great hospitality to any traveler that presented at their door. They reflected the love of the Lord to each other and to those outside their community. Except for the hospitality bit (simply because I want to keep those I care about safe from this terrible pandemic), I feel this is where I’m pitching my tent until I figure out where to go from here.

For me, this means pulling back from the fray and spending time in silence before God. My garden has become a source of rest, at times irritation, but ultimately a way to slow down, observe, and partake in the Lord’s creation. My soul isn’t finding rest anywhere else right now.

My circle has gotten much smaller, as I truly believe social distancing will be the only way to survive this. However, I will keep reaching out with what I have and offer it to others.

My next move is to read “The Cloud of Unknowing,” written by an anonymous European monk in the 1300’s about contemplative prayer. In this age of megachurches, online worship, Christian influencers, and an Americanized Jesus, I want to know how those living in the middle ages sought God. How did they use the Bible? How did Scripture sustain them when plagues were rampant, when they didn’t go along with the culture, and how did they worship in a desert? I hope to glean some understanding from the first thousand years of my fellow Christians’ walk with the Lord and perhaps employ their wisdom in my own walk, as I meander blindly into the future.

[Mother] Theodora said, “Let us strive to enter by the narrow gate. Just as the trees, if they have not stood before the winter’s storms cannot bear fruit, so it is with us; this present age is a storm and it is only through many trials and temptations that we can obtain an inheritance in the kingdom of heaven.”

[Mother] Syncletica said, “Imitate the [tax collector], and you will not be condemned with the Pharisee. Choose the meekness of Moses and you will find your heart which is a rock changed into a spring of water.”

aleteia.org

Loopholes Discovered in Carolina Beach

Today was a big step for Simonne kind in this new normal world.

Carolina Beach is “open,” inasmuch as you can’t sit or play games on the beach, but you can walk, jog, surf, and paddleboard, socially distanced of course.

Oh, and there’s no public parking available. Everything is roped off.

As usual, I found loophole. Public parking might be closed, but the town’s press release said nothing about parking at the chain grocery store and walking a mile to the strand. And that’s exactly what I did with free parking to boot!

I wore a cloth mask I found on Etsy without sunglasses so if I was caught in a “circumstance,” I could at least communicate with my eyes. I walked towards the North End, but even the public beach access had boards nailed across the wooden path. I knew one spot that would be open. I chose to willfully ignore the laminated “No Entry/No Access” signs and smiled at the pedestrian gap in the traffic barrels with rope. And before I knew it, I was back on the beach. My heart sang it was so happy! I walked a couple of miles and encountered only four other humans.

Also, masks get really hot after a few miles on foot.

It was surreal to be on the beach on such a nice day without crowds. The waves looked decent, but I’d have to wear a wetsuit and would have no where to stash my bag and towel – that was illegal too – let alone carrying a six foot surfboard several miles. I stopped by the Boardwalk in search of curbside ice cream and it looked like a post-zombie apocalypse had occurred. There was no ice cream.

I’m pleased to report no encounters with the law.

It made me sad to think this year I might not experience my “Summer Sundays.” Last year, early afternoon on bright sunny summer Sundays, I would drive to Carolina Beach. I’d walk to the store “Go Sauce Yourself” on the Boardwalk and buy a beer – usually “Come Hell or High Watermelon” (which is basically summer in a can) – and take it with me in my beach bag. I’d spent the afternoon sitting – Sabbathing if you will – on the beach, sipping beer, and taking a dip in the ocean. I’d read, let my mind wander over the waves, and recharge with solar energy. If I was feeling especially crazy, I would get ice cream on my way home. I’d only be out there for a couple of hours.

Wait, you’re probably thinking, alcohol is illegal on the beaches here!

Well, there’s a loophole about southern culture that I’ve learned from all my years here: it’s quite gilded (which means a cheap metal is painted in a gold coat to give the appearance of solid gold, but obviously isn’t – appearance trumps everything). As long as you hide the alcohol, and aren’t disturbing the peace with your public drunkenness, no one cares. I had a koozie over the beer can, thus hiding what it was, so I was safe. I find this hilarious. If I ran Carolina Beach, I’d have patrols looking in everyone’s coolers and write enough alcohol citations to fund the town’s annual budget.

But I’m not, so I will gladly enjoy a beer. Obviously, I’m not anywhere near intoxicated.

The fact of the matter is even if the stay at home orders are lifted, our lives will be different for some time to come. Church says we hope to be meeting again by mid-May, and even if that is the case, it’s far too soon for me. I can socially distance myself at the beach – heck, I’ve been doing it for fourteen years now, but I don’t know what the summer holds or how long this virus will linger. I’ll just keep checking for loopholes and keep a low profile. As I do.

No Wake Zone

When I first moved to Wilmington, the biggest draw for me was the ocean. I got a surfboard and quickly learned the ways of the ocean. Most of my weekends are spent on the sand or in the water. The ocean grounds me. She’s a capricious mistress, as I found out the hard way by nearly dying in heavy seas, but her ebb and flow speak to my soul.

When I first moved here my co-worker gave me pause: she never left an AC-controlled environment all summer long. “Go to the beach?” she said in an exasperated tone, as if I suggested trudging through a swamp at dusk, “Why? It’s hot, the blazing sun’s out, there’s bugs, and you get sand everywhere. Ew. No thanks.” I come to find out, many of my fellow Wilmingtonians never went to the beach. I really fell off my rocker when I learned many children here never experienced a day at the beach with their family and the kids in the poorer sections of town had never seen the ocean. I was not prepared for that. I thought everyone here would go to the beach!

I couldn’t imagine not going to the beach. I visit the beach in winter, too, and I feel a difference in my soul when it’s been weeks since I get to the strand. When we were house hunting and contemplating an area more inland, I noticed the difference in the air and temperature once I got away from the ocean and I didn’t like it. I’m glad my house is only a few miles as the crow flies from the Atlantic. I couldn’t have it any other way.

And now, because of the virus quarantine protocols, they have closed the beaches. “$@%,” I said when I saw the news. I know why they’re doing it and I agree with why they’re doing it. My head knows it, but my heart doesn’t.

The worst part about being in the medical community is that it erases all hope. It’s so much easier to hang onto hope and look beyond the reality of a situation without medical knowledge. Our dear leaders keep saying things will turn around “another week or so,” but it doesn’t work that way, no matter how much they say it. Once I saw the beaches close, I knew it would be for months, not merely weeks, and my surfing and beach time was now an act against the law.

I’m a law-abiding citizen. Cops and I have never gotten along well, so it is everything I can do to keep them away. Despite this, I started trespassing on private property, however, in a desperate attempt to find a place near by house to access the Intracoastal Waterway. All of my attempts were thwarted by guard dogs and scary looking “NO TRESPASSING” signs. I was successful in finding one spot – again, technically I am trespassing because I do not do not own property in this neighborhood – but a kind elderly gentleman said it would be okay. This is as close as I can get to the beach nowadays.

A summer without the beach? I’m hesitant to think about it too much.

Wrightsville Beach opened today, but alas, public parking is not allowed and I’m not desperate enough for 20 mile walk round trip. I hope other beaches will open. I know enough honey holes on the island to be far, far away from the crowds (especially for illegally suntanning). I’m contemplating buying a backpack for my surfboard so I can easily carry it down the beach, if I have to walk a mile or so. I’ve also shopped around for kayaks, but the 2 mile walk to the public dock with kayak in tow has me rethinking that plan.

“Give us this day our daily bread,” says the Lord’s prayer. We don’t live that way in modern America, but I have a feeling that I will be living like that more often than not in the days to come.

I hope that bread is full of vitamin sea.

Writing Retreat, Day 2

14 March 2020

I woke up to sunlight streaming through my window and drinking coffee out of can. It’s not my preferred way to enjoy a cuppa, as the cute indy cafe down the street called my name before all the virus stuff hit, but it was certainly better than what the hotel provided.

I headed out to the beach for a run. There were a decent amount of people out there, but I managed to avoid them all. I promised myself 20 minutes out and 20 minutes back. It was a perfect morning on the strand with bright sun and cool temps. I savored ever moment, as I knew this could be the last time I’d get to do this for awhile. My husband was almost certain we’d be under quarantine orders soon. I returned nearly an hour later, showered, and got myself settled with a glass of wine at the wobbly desk with that sliver view of the ocean, ready to write the first chapter.

A friend popped up in my inbox with an urgent edit for a newsletter for a non-profit, so I did that. I wasn’t as quick as I thought I would be, but as it turned out, it was the perfect exercise to get into writing mode.

The good Lord knows what you need.

Like starting all things, it took a moment to get going, as I had to research my opening line. I didn’t get started on the book until 1pm, much later than I anticipated – two chapters wasn’t going to happen, so I only focused on one. The story I had to tell was very linear, and I had the details – although they jumped around, as my interviewee’s ADD kicked in. My pre-writing was the notes from the interview, I probably should have organized the thoughts in a true pre-writing fashion, but by taking them organically, it all came together.

A few hours later, I was in need of more wine and food after I got about half way through. Word count was rising and I felt good about the content. I took a break to watch the world burn on cable news and checked in on my husband back home. I picked up the story where I left off and the words kept coming. It flowed like a brook over stones. I finally stopped a little after midnight, the story wrapped up in a bow, the chapter complete.

In 11 hours, I had pushed out 3,700 words.

As I snuggled into sleep, another idea popped up, so I quickly scribbled that down. I had to force myself to go to sleep and stop thinking about the chapter. I turned off the laptop so I wouldn’t be tempted to copy edit.

Outside of downloading the writing program Scrivener, locking myself in a hotel room to write was one of the best things I’ve ever done as a writer.

I can’t wait to do it again.

Writing Retreat, Day 1

13 March 2020

I’m holed up in a hotel in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with a partial ocean view. I can see a sliver of the ocean from the corner of the room where I write, but it was a cheap hotel. I’ve stayed in worse, I’ve stayed in better – but for what it is, it’ll work. Between the ocean waves, the loud cars on the strip, and the drunken tourists, it’s everything I thought it would be.

I turned off the AC unit and opened the sliding glass door to my balcony and it’s made all the difference. Cityscape noise is a great background to writing for me.

My goodness, I need to be in Paris!

I almost cancelled this trip because of the coronaviruus. I had my cafes, restaurants, and bars planned out – but I scrapped all that for meals I can make in a microwave to avoid the public and a bottle of wine. Still, I don’t think anyone got the memo there is a pandemic of epic proportions underway.

I’m basically self-quarantining in a hotel, after wiping down every surface in here with bleach wipes.

I’m surprised there are so many people here. My favorite so far were the twenty year old couple from a college in Michigan who didn’t realize the hotel had age restrictions when booking for spring break. I think they got it all sorted out with the help of parents.

I received some unexpected good news my first night: my first ever book proposal was submitted to a publishing world person to read – and it came back to me copy edited! COPY EDITED! I thought I was going to get the “No publishing company would ever read this drivel” or “It’s okay for a start, but….” and instead it came back with copy edits. I want to cry I am so happy! I’m doing my best not to get a fat head over it.

Tonight was a warm up with some wine and light writing. Tomorrow the real stuff begins – writingthe first two chapters. I have all my pre-writing research done, it’s just a matter of spinning the words into chapters.

But I’ll do all that after coffee, breakfast, and a beach run.

The Third – три

A glass of wine convinced me to find the loves of my past, which is something I’ve never done. Without much thought, I held my breath and plunged my head beneath the watery surface of the past.


The third one was probably the most difficult for me. I wanted nothing to do with him ever again and said so the last time we saw each other, several lifetimes ago. His page was locked down, so his public posts were old and few. Nonetheless, I scrolled. He’s married with kids. His wife’s smile could power a house for days. The few pictures strewn about showed an incredibly happy couple. I was pleased to see that big stupid grin of his, I knew it spoke of his genuine happiness.

Despite being the stereotypical family man from his musings on social media, he looks exactly the same as he did all those years ago, which surprised me. The lines around his eyes are a little deeper, but outside of that small detail, it would be difficult to tell if they were from the distant past or recent. Even his body hasn’t aged, he is still very much that tall lanky kid from the absolute worst city in Illinois. He’s in his late thirties now, but he might as well have been in his late teens. His handsomeness hasn’t changed either, those daring eyes like the sea were the same ones that I fell in love with when I was young and impetuous. I found myself smiling at his picture. Despite the destruction he wrought in my life, I’m glad he is happy. I hope he and his family found Jesus, too, that would be the real icing on the cake.

His kids, for lack of a better term, are cute. They have his facial expressions and the professional pictures of his family in a park looked like an advertising shoot to sell anything to middle America. I hope those pictures reflect his true story, and not just for the camera.

I didn’t recognize the company he works for, so I googled them and was still confused as to what he actually does. A mutual friend of ours had always been very close with him, and I didn’t know they were the combined family vacations type of close. I’m glad they’re still in touch and support each other.

I always hope I will run into him randomly in a restaurant in my travels, where I see him but he won’t see me. If I did, I would secretly pay for his meal, write an anonymous note referencing Final Fantasy VIII, and send over a round of lemon drops. It would be my calling card, a throwback to an era where chastity and sobriety went out the window because of him.

Maybe he’d know it was me. Maybe he wouldn’t. But it would make him smile.

The Second – два

A glass of wine convinced me to find the loves of my past, which is something I’ve never done. Without much thought, I held my breath and plunged my head beneath the watery surface of the past.


We stopped speaking to each other years ago. I’ll always wish our last exchange was mended, but he made it clear he did not want to maintain any semblance of friendship.

We dated for a year or so. As much as I was in love with him, perhaps in the deep recesses of my mind, I knew we were very different people who wanted very different things; married life would not have suited us.

I was living a few hours away when he called. We met up for dinner once a year to catch up, as we truly stayed friends after our romance ended. His work was having an event nearby and he wanted to know if he could crash at my apartment overnight. As a third shift worker, it was perfect: he had the apartment to himself all night while I was at work.

He came over and I got him set up on the couch. His stout athletic body had not changed from high school. He was a strong Christian, single, and I trusted him explicitly. It was comforting to enjoy his presence again. When I returned home after work, he had already folded all the blankets, showered, and eaten. He didn’t have to leave for another couple of hours, so we spent the morning chatting. With all my relationship baggage, here he was, shining the light of Christ on my world. His grounded stance and daily walks with the Lord dazzled me. He reminded me there were good men out there, as I kept forgetting.

And then, we kissed.

It was only kissing. Clothes stayed on, hands didn’t stray, and it was like I was in high school again.

And then he had to leave for his work event.

I was on Cloud 9 for the rest of the day. I knew it was just a kiss and there was nothing more to it. The beauty of him reminding me that all was not lost had a lasting effect on me. I can’t describe how much his visit soothed my aching spirit.

I got an email from him.

It was long. Very long. Oh no, I thought, thinking he wanted to restart our romantic bond.

But, as usual, I was wrong.

The entire letter consisted of him begging for my forgiveness. He felt that kissing me objectified me, as we kissed without context. He knew things could have gone much further than they did (I would never have let that happen, he was still a virgin) and that frightened him. I felt so deflated, that a kiss flung him into such a state. We kissed throughout high school, it wasn’t like this was new territory for us. I quickly typed out my reply, assuring him he had the opposite effect on me. I did not feel objectified in any way; I thoroughly enjoyed our kiss and that I would never let my passions – or his – allow us to do something we would regret. I emphasized how much his visit encouraged me. I sent his letter and my response to my friend, who was in seminary at the time, to get her take on them and she agreed he was overreacting.

And that was it. My subsequent emails were unanswered and we haven’t spoken since.

Nearly two decades have passed.

He wasn’t hard to find. He was the type that would still be in the same rural town, just like his ancestors. Interstates made him uncomfortable, as he preferred roads without lines.

Surprisingly, he had a social media page. He didn’t post often, but I did find pictures of his family. He has six kids – the oldest looks like they are in middle school, the youngest is an infant – and he lives in the middle of nowhere. Of course, I would expect nothing less. I would not be a bit surprised to find if he was a fundamentalist homeschooling Christian, but I couldn’t deduce that from what I found. His wife bears a striking resemblance to his mother, which I found a bit odd, but her homespun appearance still showed off her beauty. He aged quickly with a receding hairline and jowls. He looks much older than I do, even though I am older than him. He’s a large round man now, no longer the fit guy I remember. He’s not nearly as attractive as he was back in the day. His eyes still reflect the light and love of Christ and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is an excellent husband, father, and pillar of his church.

I have this sinking feeling he’d avoid me if we ran into each other again.

I’d still want to hear his story, if he was willing.

The First – один

A glass of wine convinced me to find the loves of my past, which is something I’ve never done. Without much thought, I held my breath and plunged my head beneath the watery surface of the past.


I went to social media. He had a professionally leaning page without any pictures of him or anything personal. Typical of him, really. My genealogical sleuthing prepped me for this. I scanned another timeline. He was still a staunch Republican, as he had touted Republican talking points since I met him. Interactions were minimal, as most of his posts concerned his current field and a few about the randomness of life and depression, which I knew he suffered from. Based on some observances, I believe he was being treated for it pharmaceutically – and also possibly suffered from Crohn’s Disease – but in those days I didn’t have the balls to inquire.

His current girlfriend looks like a model and not a day over twenty-five, but I didn’t look beyond that. I was already down the rabbit hole, I was not about to get myself caught up in a mole tunnel as well.

I really wanted to find a current picture of him. I hadn’t seen him since his twenties and he was a forty-something now. My searches came up empty. I wondered if he was still at the same company. I would know, I helped him prepare for the interview. I’m the reason he dressed sharp and walked in calm, cool, and collected. They hired him on the spot. He was made for this sort of gig. And after watching him search fruitlessly for so long, I knew this line of work would be salve to his soul.

I found the company had a social media account and started scrolling. I found a picture where his name appeared. Bingo, he was still there. I kept scrolling until I hit pay dirt. A full body picture of him standing at an event came into view.

I paused.

In my mind, he was still twenty, but in this picture, he was clearly not. It was him, alright, no questioning that. The big smile, the bright eyes, and the jawline hadn’t changed. His face, neck, and chest all expanded, as it tends to do to men in their forties. I expected him to be more muscular, but he wasn’t. He was in good shape, with a tight chest, but time had taken away the sleek sinewy body he used to press against mine. He hadn’t grayed yet and his hairline hadn’t moved. It was him, just slightly older.

He was still gorgeous.

I looked to see when the picture was taken. I checked my calendar – and sure enough – I was in the same city the same day that picture was taken. How strange. Perhaps we passed each other and never knew.

The picture couldn’t tell me anything about his personality or how he acts now. His cultural exceptionalism bled into his personal views back in the day, and I wondered if he had become tempered with age or grew into a giant asshole. It could have gone either way. I wonder if he has children.

I’d love to meet him over a beer sometime to catch up and get to know him as he is now, but without divine intervention, it is a pipe dream. I’m not even sure he would remember me or could recall me without rolling his eyes.

But man, I’d love to know what he is like now.

The Faith of a Mustard Seed

People are always shocked when I explain that I am an instantaneous gratification type or that I like hard core rock music. Apparently, it’s pretty off-brand for the persona I exhibit, which I think is hilarious. I get a kick out of surprising people. I don’t toe the party line either.

“Bigger is better” is a truth in Western culture and apparently was also in Jesus’s time, when he started talking about faith and mustard seeds, our brains automatically go to size. The mustard seed is tiny, but it grows quite a large bush.

He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Matthew 17:20

After spending time in the garden, I don’t believe Jesus was just talking about “the size” of the faith, per se. This particular translation from the ESV really made me think: faith like a grain of mustard seed.

What good is a little mustard seed sized bit of faith if it is not cared for?

The church of my youth loved to press on the “just have faith” as if it was designed for me in an instantaneous gratification exercise. They always preached that faith just happened. They never really addressed the struggling it can involve or that sometimes faith takes awhile to mature into a big robust plant with a 20ft spread.

In my experience, God usually works more like a slow cooker on low than an InstaPot, no matter how much the American Evangelical machine tries to tell me otherwise. My struggles have not been met with immediate miracle fixes. I think Jesus’s message about the mustard seed goes deeper than just the size of the seed.

A mustard seed does not grow into a large bush overnight. It takes about ten days for that little guy to germinate – and that’s if all the conditions are met with water and sun. It’s recommended to grow them in a greenhouse pot for the first three years before transplanting them outside. Mustard bushes, once established, are hardy plants that require minimal care, like a mature faith that has had years to grow. Even when fully mature, the bush does not like soggy soil and has a reputation for contracting a few fungal diseases. Like growing any plant, it takes time – an anathema to my default setting. It takes consistency with water, sun, and the occasional pruning, like the grapevine Jesus mentions in John 15.

Faith can start out microscopic and grow into something huge, just like the mustard seed becomes a bush. But that takes time. It takes care. Sometimes we take our mustard-sized seed of faith, throw it in the ground, water it for a day or so, then promptly forget about it. We don’t become intentional about caring for it.

Consistency in caring for plants and tending to my faith in Jesus go hand in hand. Faith and plants both grow – they are living things – but if not properly tended to, can die.

Like me with my not-safe-for-work hard rock playlists, there’s always more than meets the eye. And it makes me smile at how being in the garden can make one can plumb the depths of Jesus’s words through its lens.