Oh sweet son of mine, how I love you!
You’re my firstborn – my first little love, and when I hold you in my arms (yes, I know you’re four-years-old, but hey, I’m strong!), I feel a deep joy and sadness all muddled together. You’re growing up.
But now that you’re four, and your personality has emerged in spades, I am reminded that, though I hold you in my arms and feel the convergence of my emotions, those emotions are more like two colors intermixing on a palette to create a whole new color – a color that is taking on its own shade and hue and shimmer as a new emotion rises inside me: my son, I have a deep awe and respect of your personhood. You are a cultivator, and wherever you go, you sow a tender beauty. I wanted to tell you this because there is a profundity in what you are doing and you are pursuing it with a deep, intuitive grace. Let me explain:
One day, when you were about two and a half, you decided that you were going to “plant trees.” You picked up stray sticks, drove them into the soil, and proudly told me about the new life you just fostered. It was a mesmerizing moment for me as I wondered where this instinct came from. We lived in an apartment complex, and everything there is manicured and (maybe a little bit) sterile, and yet you had the instinct to foster life in this environment. And it hasn’t left you.
A few weeks ago, we encountered a fallow flowerbed, and while your sister climbed about blissfully on the ledges of the planter’s box, you picked up a broken stem of a juniper bush and planted it, stem-side down, in the flowerbed. I watched with wonder as you carefully scooped up the soil and gently dropped it around the base of your little sapling. Then you broke the silence and said, (without taking your eyes off what you were doing), “Mama, I like planting trees.” You said it with such self-assurance, as though you knew you had found something that was deeply good.
Today, as we sat down to pray for Grandma, (who is sick right now), your prayer was “and thank you, God, for the trees! Help them to grow!” Despite my concern for your grandmother, there was something so marvelous about this prayer that I noted it in that moment: You, my son, have a deep passion for things that grow; for their well-being, for their flourishing, and you translate it so beautifully for the rest of us. You take a moment of sorrow and turn it into a moment of tenderness; you see a dead stick on the ground believe it must be re-planted – reimbued with the breath of life.
As a dear friend of mine always reminds me, we are called to be cultivators for the Kingdom of Heaven. What we do here and now has repercussions into eternity, and fostering wholeness by nurturing goodness is what God asked Adam and Eve to do at the beginning of time. Somehow, your little spirit already knows how to do that. I don’t know how. But it’s absolutely beautiful.
I’m so proud of you, and I want you to hear these things I’m telling you so you will root yourself in who you are and what you’ve been called into. I’m in awe of your little heart. I hope I can learn to nurture it as wisely and lovingly as you nurture the heartbeat of Creation.
My little son, what you are doing is profound; keep loving, keep caring, and keep planting. The harvest is coming, and the goodness you sow will return tenfold.
I love you, Bud – so much more than you’ll ever know!
The featured image is courtesy of Christina Brown and is used with her kind permission for Cultivating and The Cultivating Project.
Christina Brown is an artist who loves Beauty and the multifaceted ways in which it manifests itself in our lives. Though primarily a writer, it is her dream to pick up her painters brush again someday and attempt to partially capture, through life’s fleeting snapshots, the sublimity and goodness of our God. Christina lives at the foothills of the Rocky mountains in Colorado with her two beautiful children and gracious husband, and will not be found at any time of day without something delicious to drink. Her favorites include cappuccinos, iced tea, sparkling water, and her husband’s lovingly crafted cocktails.