Build houses and settle down; cultivate gardens and eat what they produce… Promote the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because your future depends on its welfare.
–Isaiah 29:5, 7
There’s a powerful line in the musical Hamilton that says:
“Legacy. What is a legacy?
It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.”
-Lin Manuel Miranda
This isn’t completely original to LMM- there is a similar iteration found in the film, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and I believe it’s roots are in an old proverb. It also echoes this passage in Isaiah, where God speaks through the prophet Isaiah to bring a word of hope to the Israelites who find themselves exiled, strangers in a strange land. As a pastor married to a pastor serving in an itinerant system- meaning we go where the bishop sends us- I easily connect with this passage from Isaiah.
I’ve already lived in plenty of parsonages. For those outside the church-world, a parsonage is a house owned by a church where the pastor and their family resides. Living in a parsonage isn’t always easy (that’s a post for another day!) but it does have its perks!
We have lived in four different parsonages over the last 10 years- in fact, my daughters, who are currently five, lived in three different houses by the time they were four years old. That’s a lot of packing, saying good-bye, moving, and setting up a house in a new community. One of my favorite parts of parsonage living is the first spring living in there- it’s always full of surprises! In my denomination (United Methodist) we usually receive word that we’re being moved in the winter, which means our first visit to our new home is when everything is dark, and bleak, and dead. It’s doesn’t make for great first impressions. When we move at the end of June most of the spring flowers have already bloomed and shriveled up. So it isn’t until the following spring when we finally get to see what the gardens will give us.
What a gift they’ve given us this season!
Vibrant, magenta hued azaleas. Lily of the valley. Beautiful clusters of lilacs. Hostas bigger than a tire. A flowering tree (I have no idea what kind it is, only that it’s extremely hardy. I’ve been told it’s been cut down to a stump multiple times only for it to grow back bigger than ever). And of course, the odd Easter lily and hyacinth, leftover from Easters past.
Ever since we moved last summer I’ve been dreaming of my own gardens. While I enjoy flower gardens, it’s edible gardens that I really love. After battling with a bed of ivy for three seasons, I finally gave up on turning that patch of tilled earth into a vegetable garden and made a raised bed. Between an existing raised bed, plants in containers, and the new raised bed we made we should have a hearty haul of vegetables come mid- to late summer.
We’ve already planted corn and sunflower seeds, which desperately need to be transplanted. The pre-existing raised bed is now an herb garden, with basil, oregano, parsley, dill and nasturtium (an edible flower) seeds planted. Four different varieties of tomatoes are in pots, as is a blueberry plant. Soon we will plant peas, string beans, eggplant, cucumber, and squash.
Putting down roots in a new community isn’t always easy- but it’s bound to be an adventure! I can’t wait to see the fruits of our labor as this new season passes.