I am strangely attached to the green onions in the orange pots out back.
They first came from my Grandfather’s sandy lake-front yard. After he passed away, they made their way to me through my Dad’s own hot garden. He offered them to me with gas money and a grin as I left their house one day. A five gallon bucket of pungent spring bumped along in the back seat on the drive home. For five hours of interstate I just hoped I could keep them alive.
We planted, watered, and waited. For weeks they sprung up and we cut them. They graced scrambled eggs and Green Jacket Salad and everything but ice cream.
Then one day I bounced outside with my herb shears and gasped.
Dead as a doornail, my onions were brown, withered, and mostly gone. I had killed them. I killed my sweet grandfather’s scallions. Shoulders slumped, I turned to go inside– resigned to buy them like a commoner in the produce section from then on.
After several weeks of avoiding all things garden with my Dad, he said — “Hey, I forgot to tell you. The onions might die. But don’t worry, they always come back. Even when it looks like they’re long gone— just wait. They’ll be back.”
He was right. A couple months later, they sprang up again. Tiny tender sprigs of green from black soil.
That was more than a year ago and I’ve watched those same green onions die a sudden death multiple times. Each time, I wait for them and it seems they’re finally gone. But they always come back. Small and green and hopeful. No amount of time spent forgotten keeps them from coming back.
It’s what they do, they live.
And every time they shoot up overnight, I remember.
I remember that growth often happens in the forgotten darkness. In the quiet places where no one sees. It may happen slowly and an inch at a time, but it happens just the same.
Because slow can often look like death to us. A failure to produce much can look like a failure to thrive at all. Slow progress is easy to ignore, and when we ignore it— we despise the quiet growth.
This is the growth we have as the created ones, created by One much bigger than ourselves. Our very need to grow and make things and learn and get better reflects our need for Him.
But we often disdain the slow for the immediate. We snarl at the tiny group for thousands of ears. We sigh at the “we didn’t do today” list and completely disregard the progress that was made– even if that progress was melting popsicles and belly laughs with our people.
May we be content– you and I, with where we are today. May we be happy with what we have to offer, with the very best we can do– And remember that underground, in the dark? That’s where the roots are. That’s where the real growth happens.