For Mother’s Day this spring, my husband and daughter bought me a celosia plant and although it lived in the pot for a few days, we eventually planted it in the flowerbed by the pool. It grew fairly well and flowered for a while and then, as I would have expected, gave up on life in the Texas heat and disappeared.
A few weeks ago, we happened to notice some little seedlings pushing up through the soil. The leaves looked like celosia, but I’ve grown that before. It’s an annual and although it is easy to collect the seeds to grow the following year, I’ve never had it volunteer itself – nor have it grow from its own seed the same year the plant died back.
Now in the location somewhat around where the original plant was, we have this little army of celosia plants. Army is kind of a violent term, but that’s what it looks like: all those spears sticking up, with plumes like fire rising up. And it isn’t even Pentecost!
Every day I walk by this set of plants it makes me happy. It reminds me that God is a generous giver. It reminds me that nature creates with abandon. Expecting a low return on the number of seeds that actually grow, plants send out thousands of seeds. This isn’t wasteful; it’s generosity. It’s the Creator casting life all around, celebrating when something takes root.
Too often as an artist, I find myself afraid to try something new because I might ruin the project by adding that weird idea, or I might cut the fabric wrong, or squeeze out too much paint. I somehow think I cannot get a replacement piece. I don’t want to have to start over. I am afraid to be wasteful, and it stops me from doing anything. Every time I sit down to do something, there is an element of fear – what if I mess it up? But every time I move past the fear and do it anyway – make that cut, draw that line, use that color – something new and unexpected arises that is maybe more exciting than what I had planned. Until I do it, I’ll never know. Sometimes stepping out in faith is the only way to find out if it can work…and when the Spirit meets me there, it becomes a generous and life-giving gift.