A Lament for Unmet Expectation

Some intrepid adventurer,
conquistador more accurately,
thought it would be a great idea to plunder my potato patch
in which they
had not dug until sweat streamed, dirt soiled clothing, and muscles grew tired
had not sown after much reading and with much trepidation
had not watered
had not nurtured
had not scratched their heads in bewilderment at how to nurture
had not sat and wondered in mystery what was going on beneath the soil.

All this time, the anticipation, the hope of harvest had built in my head.
Could I have cared for this row enough for it to provide good, healthy food?
Was I insane to think that something could come of this effort?
Was it worth it to think that I could achieve some success with these potatoes
that Kroger could not provide?

But this has been taken away from me

Now, initially, I am left with visions.
Visions of shovels swiftly meeting knees or back
Visions of fists meeting jaws
Visions of rage spilling out in quivering castigation upon their lazy, stealing selves.

But Jesus has taught me not to trust initial visions.

I am instead commanded to step back and consider the larger picture
beyond my often selfish gaze, thoughts, and emotions;
What if they had great need?  If those potatoes would serve them better than us?
What if they, in poverty, never had home-grown potatoes,
never could sample their local, fresh, Yukon-gold taste?
Does this change my perspective, my emotion?

It should.

But what if they are lazy, are the products of an entitlement society
where everyone else provides and they consume?
Should I be angry then?


What if it is both?

Now that’s messy.

Should I maybe also take the long-view that my commitment to nurture and strive
in a neighborhood where nurturing and care aren’t deeply cultivated practices
may bear fruit over the long-term?
That this garden could show that someone, ANYONE, cares about this neighborhood,
so those disappeared potatoes
(stolen as they may be)
are but a whisper of rebellion in the larger winds of healing God wants to bring here?

Either way, I must come down somewhere,
and so I come down here;

If there was great need, then God, may you bless them,
may the potatoes be a gift of nourishment and care.

But if this was simple selfishness, latching on in parasitism to the work of others,
then God, may those potatoes be a curse to them.
May they sting the stomaches and the soul of the takers and eaters so much
that they are driven to their knees,
driven to the toilet,
physically and spiritually crushed by the gravity of their sin.
May it lead them to courage and repentance,
extended to me.


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