He’s been asked to pick weeds, but he wants to plant a vegetable garden.
This is what he tells me as we sit at the table, poking remnants of our dinner and digging through the hard soil our lives have fallen upon.
You know the feeling when everything you’ve done that day – many days – has yielded nothing?
It’s an apt analogy for this music man of mine, who, when not wrapping his long, curved and calloused fingers around the body of a guitar, loves to wrap them around a shovel to till the ground and make things grow. Herbs, peppers, zucchini, tomato, potato, beans, broccoli. He loves to bring a small harvest home for a good meal.
Today he feels about ready to bury it all – the hope he’s had for his music, the earnest effort of a decade practicing and playing, practicing and playing. It has yet to yield a real career, and he’s tired.
And so I hand him the shovel and take up my own and we keep digging, side by side, separating weeds from wealth, fear from truth.
I have dirt under my finger nails and I can hardly catch my breath but here is what I know :
It is not true that our effort is wasted.
It is not true that we have been given talents and passion that we will never use.
What is true is that some days we have to pick, and some days we have to plant. Some days we have to uproot the lies and wrestle with the weeds and do the tedious tilling.
What is true is that whether we are picking or planting, we will come away dirty and spent, all our work hinged on hope for those seeds we have laid in the soil.
What is true is that soil is made of layers and layers of dead things - shit - and that all that mess is made new when we wait long enough, and with hope.
What is true is that today the ground is cold and the season hasn’t turned. That time is coming, but it is not yet now. And so we wait and work, worry tossed aside as a weed so that our dreams can take root and grow.