-sharing reflections on what I've heard and am hearing, learned and am learning,
from voices in the Holy Land, the USA, and Rwanda-


Monday, March 7, 2011

dig, plant, water, wait, grow?

The second grade class at the Evangelical Lutheran School in Beit Sahour recently studied a unit on gardening in their English class.  The story that accompanied the unit was about a boy named Sam and the plants he grew from the seeds his granny gave him.  Over and over again we tested the second grade's memory and mastery of this unit, asking the students the steps Sam took to plant his seeds and how we could likewise garden. 

"First, we dig the earth.  Second, we plant the seed. 
Then, we water the seed.  Then, we wait. 
Finally, the seed grows." 

Ironically, at the same time I was helping teach this unit I had the opportunity to join a day of olive tree planting in a nearby village.  As a tourist you often only see the importance of the olive tree to Palestine in the olive wood carvings of camels, magi, and manger scenes, but the olive tree represents much more.  Alive and thriving in groves hundreds of years old, the trees' annual produce is integral to many families' yearly salary, not to mention their own supply of precious olives and olive oil.  Sadly, many people have lost their land and olive trees.  The Palestinian farmer for whom we helped plant this new grove will soon lose around 80% of his land to the building of the Wall.  Hopefully, with these trees, now planted on the land that he will soon be cut off from, he will have more of an arguement by which he might possibly gain permission to access his land after the Wall is built.  

During this day of planting olive trees, I practiced hands on the same steps to gardening as the second graders at my school studied...  but in a slightly different order. 


1. First, we dig the earth.


2. Second, we plant the tree.


3. Then, we water the tree.


...(Eventually), the tree (will) grow.


4.  (But for now), we wait.
Pictured above is the owner of the land we planted on. 

For whatever comes next, he waits. 

It is with him that we wait in the hope that these trees will be allowed to take root and thrive.  It is with him that we wait in the hope that the Wall that will soon hide his trees will not claim them completely.  It is with him that we wait in the hope that one day the only waiting will be for the next olive harvest and not the decision regarding whether or not he will be able to join in the harvest. 

It is with him that we wait in the hope that the lesson these second graders have learned was not in vain--
that growth does in fact accompany such waiting.

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