For the last couple weeks I’ve been spending my time raising 15 baby chicks and starting seeds for my family’s garden this summer. As I pushed seeds into potting soil with the symphony of chick peeps beside me last Sunday, I wondered “What does it mean for me to foster new life? What does teaching chicks to drink water or watching a tomato sprout tell me about the world?” I’ve been raising chickens and gardening all my life, but this time has felt different and I couldn’t figure out why.
As I pondered these questions for the remainder of the week, I remembered these verses from Job:
But ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In God’s hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being. Job 12:7-10 (NRSV)
Job prompts us to look to God’s creation as a reminder that we, with all the world, are in God’s hands. This reminder tells us we are loved and cared for, in all times and in all places; that all of creation knows it and is begging to declare it. Looking to creation reminds us of all things that are good. This season, looking to creation has reminded me of hope.
I realized this season of fostering new life has been so much more meaningful because it reminds me to remain hopeful through these difficult times. Each day when I fill the feed for my chicks I think about the eggs they’ll lay in September and as I water seedlings I anticipate the joy of the first bell peppers- this new life has given me something to look forward to as the things I previously anticipated are crossed off the calendar.
Although most parts of my spring semester are drastically different than I imagined, the warmer days, the longer light, and the promise of birdsong each morning remain. Even as the world pauses to shelter in place, the seasons continue to change. The promise of new life in God’s creation reminds us of hope- hope that there’s always something beautiful to watch, something beautiful to be a part of. In the midst of loss, heartache, and uncertainty, hope is refreshing. It brings us out of the difficult reality of a life sheltered in place, and it gives us something to look forward to. It reminds us this will not be forever, and from this season of grief, new life will emerge.
So as we move through this season, I beg you to search for new life. It’s spring! It couldn’t be a better time. Watch for leaves budding on trees and weeds finding their way through the sidewalk cracks. Watch for swans finally resting on open water, and for birds chirping their greetings as you open your eyes each morning. Plant something and watch it grow, whether a bed of flowers or some basil seeds in an old jar. Look for reminders of hope in new life, and share that hope with others. Let God’s creation remind you that even in times of difficulty, we are in God’s hands.
Mackenzie Miller is a junior Environmental Studies major at Luther College in Decorah, IA. She served on FLBC Summer Staff during the summers of 2018 & 2019, and is stoked to return for the summer of 2020! Mackenzie loves rock climbing, reading, and sharing geology fun facts. Her favorite things about camp are the polar plunge, Glacier Wilderness programs, and the Passion play.
Thank you so much Mackenzie! Beautiful!! I saw a Mt Blue Bird the other day…(only the 2nd one I have seen in MT in 8 years!) It gave me such joy and hope. Praying for you, and those baby chicks! Christ has Risen!!
Such beautiful words, Mackenzie Thank you so much for sharing this lovely essay with us! You are remarkable! 💗