by Liz Goodyear Jones
I am a gardener. I have not always been a gardener though. For 36 years I was a rector, chaplain, head of school, retiring four years ago for the “good Life”. Why the quotation marks? Well, retiring and this Gospel of burying talents and multiplying them, has a lot to do with me.
I could not wait to bury my talents in the grounds of leisure, recreation and reading. All of which I did and then… looked around to see what else there was to do. I practice yoga, walk on the beach daily, read copiously, became a pretty good cook and love old movies. But as I found out, this wears thin when it’s all about me.
I needed to grow something; to do something beyond my one talent of self-concern and gardening looked like a great idea. Then, the burying, meek, scarcity “me”, kicked in and I said to myself, I don’t know one thing about gardening. I better stick to what I know”. If there is one sentence you might want to remember it is that one. Stick to what you know equals dig a hole, bury any possibility and put dirt over it. Exactly what our friend did with their one talent in today’s Gospel.
I did, however, know how to make a basic compost patch and so with no thought of gardening further, but trying to be ecologically good, I made a compost pile. Egg shells, coffee grinds, leaves and dirt, scattered branches and loads of ends of celery and squash went on the compost heap. Yard garbage I like to say.
But the God of infinite possibility, and eternal life here and now, had other ideas. One day I walked out and there on the compost pile was a small green bush growing out of it.
For kicks, I put it in the ground and guess what? A beautiful hot pepper plant that never quits giving, always has peppers and can’t be killed grew where I had “hidden” my talent!
That led to my husband’s happiness over the never-ending supply of hot peppers and that led to me tackling another unknown, how to make hot pepper jelly to give away! It was a huge success.
Try as we will, even what we think is a small talent is committed to prospering and growing in the gardens of our lives. So, here is to your garden. May it give you joy, pleasure and the knowledge that you are a multiplier of talents too!
The Reverend Liz Goodyear Jones, has been married for 40 years to Dave Jones, her wonderful artist husband, who is also a jazz musician. They have one daughter who works in the art world in NYC, and two kitties, named Taj and Leo, both of whom are a joy and delight.