So I decided to get as far away from everyone else as possible. I walked a couple of blocks away to a small park, with a playground, benches, a large tree with its branches bent to the ground, a little grass, but mostly dirt. I sat and looked at the dirt. I began to think about dirt.
Dirt can really be messy. It leaves tracks on carpets and makes stains on clothes. Dirt needs to be cleaned up and often leaves traces that remind us of its power. I started thinking about my journey and how often I had made mistakes, times of failure and disappointment, and the traces on my soul that reminded me of those times. Dirt reminded me of my humanity and frailty. The dirt was beginning to get to me.
Then I looked up and around. I saw the trees branches touching the ground. I remembered that my wife often would bend the limb of a plant down and put a brick on it to enable the branch to send shoots down into the dirt that would become the roots of a new plant, drawing life from the dirt.
I looked at the playground built on the dirt. While messy, the soft dirt cushioned the fall of children as they came shooting down the slide, or sometimes fell from the swings. The dirt on the clothes and knees of children were marks of a fun filled day.
My eyes drifted to the blades of green grass that grew in the mid distance and waved in the gentle breeze. The greenness hid the dark shade of dirt from which the grass sprang. The dirt also contained nutrients that sustained the life of plants and grass.
What a wonderful picture of our humanity! The mistakes, failures, and inadequacies of our lives can be messy and they can’t be avoided. We overcome all that because the same human nature produces the growth, the fun, the life affirming spirit that makes life worth living.
I went back to the meeting and shared the dirt with the others.
© 2007, John C. Fitts, III. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted from Grace Drops, Volume 5 (2007).