Katie Faley — Sharing the harvests of our gardens . . . and other God-given gifts

"By the third time somebody shared their harvest," writes Katie Faley, "I started to see the ways in which God can work through these small moments and gestures."

Cause of Our Joy / By Katie Faley

Would you believe that it was green beans and baked potatoes that inspired my faith this month?

Well, it was. It’s said that God works in mysterious ways. Sometimes that just happens to be through a potato.

It all started when my grandpa’s friend, Don, brought over some fresh produce he had grown in his own garden. The green beans and potatoes were not only the perfect addition to our meatloaf dinner, they also were the most delicious green beans and potatoes I’ve had all summer.

He’s not the only one to share his harvest with my family recently.

A few days before, my neighbor brought over a watermelon to share. She’d stopped at a roadside stand where a gentleman was selling the biggest watermelon she’s seen, and she couldn’t resist. Knowing it was too much for her and her husband, she brought over half to share with us.

And just a week before that, a 7:30 a.m. Sunday Mass regular at St. Mark Church brought a truckload of corn to share with his fellow parishioners.

SLOW DOWN, SEE GOD’S GOODNESS

This is one of the things I love most about this time of year. With back-to-school season, these weeks can feel so fast and busy. Even for someone like me, who has no children and isn’t a teacher, somehow the pace of the world just seems to speed up at the end of summer.

By the third time somebody shared their harvest with us, I started to see the ways in which God can work through these small moments and gestures.

On the one hand, when we receive these gifts from the earth given to us by good friends and neighbors, we can easily see how God provides for us — both spiritually and physically. He gives us good people to share life with, and he gives us good gifts to sustain us. We can see this as a symbol of how He calls us into communion with Him. When we have neighbors and friends who share their gifts with us, they remind us that we were created to share life within community.

Accepting the gift of generosity that friends and neighbors have shared with us is a good reminder to share with others the fruits of our own labors.

We’re also reminded that good things take time, and sometimes we have to slow down to appreciate the goodness of life. There’s nothing rushed about farming or gardening. It’s a slow process that requires faith and reliance on the gifts of God. To get the best produce, it takes a lot of work, patience, time, and trust in God. We have to appreciate the slowness and patience goodness requires. Like locally grown produce, God’s gifts are the best of the best.

And finally, accepting the gift of generosity that friends and neighbors have shared with us is a good reminder to share with others the fruits of our own labors. We know that God gives each of us unique gifts, and He calls us to share those gifts with our community. Often this can be in simple ways. It may be as simple as sharing a line from a book that we are reading that inspired a thought in us that we think a friend may appreciate. It could be a simple invitation to Mass. It could be sharing our talents with our community. Or offering to do a small act of service.

It can even be as simple as sharing half of a watermelon with a neighbor.

There are many ways we can find God in the everyday. A wonderful conversation with someone we haven’t seen in a while, a truck full of Illinois-grown corn and, yes, even a potato. At the end of the day, the important part is slowing down, extending the generosity shown to us by others with others, and recognizing God’s goodness in the harvest.

Katie Faley

Katie Faley is a member of St. Mark Parish in Peoria and a writing coordinator for OSF HealthCare. She has a master’s degree in theology and theological studies from the University of Notre Dame. Write to her at katiefaleywriter@gmail.com.

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