Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Reflections on a Compost Pile

Compost is, by definition, gross.

According to Wikipedia, compost "is organic matter that has been decomposed and recycled as a fertilizer and soil amendment". It's garbage. Really old garbage.

Yesterday my menfolk took off for the day to help prepare to put a roof on the church building in Tecomate, Guasave. Sarah, Evie and I took the opportunity to finish a few "pendientes" (that's the "to do" list, in Spanish!). Sarah scrubbed the staircase and put on a fresh coat of varnish. Evie cleaned her room and helped do all the boys' chores.

I went outside and cleaned up my compost pile.

I've been putting this task off for quite some time because, frankly, I was dreading it. My biggest problem is that I didn't do it right the first time, and the wrong-ness of it just grew and grew until I really no longer had a "compost pile", but rather I had a huge area where people have been throwing their garbage for a couple of months. Gross.

Not to mention the fact that I planted a beautiful nopal cactus border on that side of the yard and it really loves the compost area. Note to self: Don't plant cactus as a hedge to any area you ever intend to work in. Even the flowers have spines!!!

Another little pest also is very happy with my compost area.

The huachapoti. I have no idea how to spell that. You pronounce it "watch a POH tee". Evil little products of the curse they are. Very difficult to remove from fuzzy socks.

So while I was shoveling half-rotted kitchen debris and fighting with cactus and cockleburrs, my mind wandered to deeper waters.

I found myself thinking that my life sometimes feels a lot like my compost pile: Spread out and sprawling in every direction, lacking focus. Full of stickers and spines. I wonder if I'm really accomplishing anything. Will I ever see changes? Progress? Growth?

As I dug deeper, though, I saw that nature had been doing its thing in spite of me. Under the surface, away from view, rich soil was beginning to form.

Isn't that just like God? It seems that He does His most beautiful work out of sight -- down deep, where no one can see. And we won't notice until we dig in and really start removing layers of garbage.

So, I built actual walls to contain the compost and will be caring for it as I should now. I'm excited to see my garden growing (frustrated when the duck returned from exile and began eating it again, but that's a different post). I'm anxious for the day when we get to harvest.

And I think of the spiritual parallels and thank God that He does His work in secret, and I don't have to stress about it.

And I am sure of this: that He who began a good work in you will bring it about to completion at the day of Jesus Christ! -- Philippians 1:6


Rachel said...

Reading about compost just became a beautiful thing. Everytime I mess with compost I will probably remember this "parable".

Your cactus got big!!

Julie said...

Hello! How have you been? I have been out of the loop for awhile, but am back and glad to catch up on your blog. I was wondering if you would share how you came to be called into the mission ministry. I will look around your site to see if you have some posts about it. But I have been feeling called lately, I am so far away from ready for anything like that, but it keeps coming back to me. If you have time to share I would love to hear from you! My email is gorge_family@yahoo.com