Fourth week of Advent—Community
Day 24: Tuesday, Dec. 22
As part of Simple Advent, Abundant Life, we invited young people to share how they strive to live simply on the earth as a sign of hope that restoration is possible. Today's reflection comes from Connor O'Leary Herreras, a senior at Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, California.
Right now, my life is chaotic, but when I tend to the one-by-four-foot garden bed in my backyard, I am removed from the stress of college applications, my senior year and the civil unrest our country faces. Essays, assignments and politics all dissipate as I hover my watering can above the rows of carrots and lettuce, allowing its water to saturate the soil. Since April of this year, I have harvested zucchini, peas, tomatoes and more.
There is something incredibly mellow about watching a plant’s growth. A plant makes slow, relaxed movements as it stretches toward the sky. I am almost jealous: How is the natural world so effortless in its peace? How is it that simple? Then I remember — it’s not. Nature’s tranquility belies a profound complexity. The natural world is constantly under pressure, constantly dealing with stress. All life relies on an interconnected network of biogeochemical cycles. A plant reaches leisurely towards the sun, but it must struggle up through the soil first. Though it may not appear to be, chaos is natural.
Like most people these days, I deal with stress daily. However, gardening has taught me that by accepting the complexity in my life, I can learn to live a bit more simply.
What images of nature have revealed lessons to you in your life? What lessons about simplicity does nature share?
If you are able, spend 10 minutes outside today observing the tranquility and complexity of nature. If you cannot go outside, watch a video or imagine a natural scene.
View the Advent Simplicity Calendar for more Advent simplicity inspiration.
Simple Advent, Abundant Life
reflect | act