My photo has nothing to do with this post. I just liked this guy. So about my post…
There is this parable.
One that I have heard about a thousand times in my life.
You may know it.
It is the one about the Sower and the Seed. In as few words as possible, the Sower distributes seeds and some fall to the side and the birds immediately eat them. Some fall on rocks and immediately grow because there is not much depth to the dirt but with the heat, they are quickly destroyed. Some fall among thorns and though they grow, the vines suffocate them. Some land on healthy soil, the seed falls deep and they flourish.
As someone who has been raised Catholic, attended Catholic school and attended Mass on Sundays for her entire life, this parable is one of the “no brainers”. One that has been listen to, repeated, taught and goes in the bucket like other stories such as the Good Samaritan, feeding the thousands with fish and loaves of bread and all the other parables that you get to know.
So when I was sitting in Mass this past Sunday and heard this Gospel start, I of course told myself “oh this one! got it!”. Then the priest surprised me. He started speaking and suddenly, I realized that perhaps I was truly understanding this story for the first time.
The humility began to set in.
Wait, the seed that allows growth but is too shallow represents someone who is content in faith until things get too hard? Those thorns represent society pressures that can distract us from our faith and slowly suffocate it? Oh shoot, seems I have been falling into these two categories lately….
As strong as I have believed my faith has gotten, it became instantly clear that I have let go of some of my faith a bit. Not intentionally of course, but I had allowed life to cloud my focus. The seeds of my faith were dying off too quickly or becoming suffocated by things that don’t matter because I have just let them go, confident that it can sustain itself without much help. Oops.
Lately, I have allowed a number of things to start to get to me. I can’t even say what specifically it is. But that is the thing, it is never a “BIG” thing like people think but an accumulation of little things. Life sometimes feels hectic and “busy” (a term I despise and try not to use) and desires sometimes turn towards things you “want” instead of “need”. Relationships and friendships can become challenging and frustration vs forgiveness takes hold. In a matter of moments, you can begin to worry about things that don’t need to be worried about, focusing on things that are not important, forgetting the act of grace towards others and find you have left your faith in the rearview mirror without realizing it and oh look, pulling up right next to you is now anxiety and fear. These two really know exactly when your focus changes don’t they?
I needed to hear this. I needed to be aware. My confidence in my faith was becoming arrogance in the strength of it and suddenly, I noticed it wasn’t as strong as it once was.
I am not writing this entire post because I am trying to make you all more faithful. If it inspires one to do so, then awesome. I am writing this because strength in faith is an important measure of peace and contentment for me but really, in life, this concept of taking care of the important things and not worrying about the other things is something that I believe everyone agrees with. Unfortunately, society sometimes doesn’t always help us stay focused on what really matters and quickly, we can become anxious and fearful over things that, in the end, just don’t matter at all.
Whether it is faith, or another area of yourself you are trying to grow, it is through the act of practice, commitment and focus that it will be achieved. It is not easy all the time. If you walk away and lose focus, it won’t continue to prosper. It is just like the Farmer who plants a seed. The seed needs to be given a good environment, constantly cared for, looked after or it will never find a way grow. That being said, if you give it the love that it needs, it will prosper to something greater than you ever realized.
So I am 38 and I finally truly understand the meaning of one parable. Only 38 years…hmmm…seems like I have a lot more learning to do.