I’ve Been Composted

The wilt and the rot fills the bucket.

On top of the vegetable scraps from supper and the fruit leavings from a mid-afternoon snack I drop the eggs shells and coffee grounds from the mornings breakfast.

Decay perfume wafts.

On a really hot day the stink takes over my ktichen and I have to empty the half-filled  bucket quickly into the compost pile in the backyard.

No one does this but me.

Perhaps it’s because I am the keeper of flowers.

I don’t mind putting my hands into the rot because I know there is life shrouded in the decay.

I am not afraid of the breakdown of cucumber peelings or  leftover asparagus stems turning black.

Old egg shells crushed, their insides dried out and lifeless are a joy to me when I toss them into the leaf pile.

I pierce them with my pitchfork when I turn them over and over and over. Till, till, till.

I turn the breakdown like I am stirring a big pot of soup.

The tilling unearths earthworms, long and fat and slow.

At first, in the spring, right after the last winter blast, the pile was full and tall, almost up to my shoulders with leaves and old grass and my daily bucket heaves.

Four months later the pile is small, ankle deep over the garden clogs.

The pile has become dark, heavy and….fragrant.

It was in the rotting, in the decaying,  in the dying, that it became small.

It was in the dying that it came back to life…richer, a Gardener’s delight.

A gardener’s delight to spread on soil for  tomatoes and cucumbers and black-eyed Susans and shasta daisies.

Nothing is wasted in my compost pile.

I have a recurring dream.

In the dream I am in the backyard of a childhood home. When I lived there as a teenager the yard was a sloping space of grass. In my dream it has become a garden. Everywhere I turn there are flowers.

Flowers where the clothesline used to be.

Flowers all along the side of the barn.

Flowers going way to back stone wall and up against the tree line.

Daisies and garden phlox and black-eyed Susans and roses spill and bow all over the property.

In my dream I whisper, “I don’t remember planting these.”

Then,  a woman comes.

She doesn’t say anything to me. but I know that her smile is telling me, “Yes, you did, you just don’t remember.”

This is when I  always wake up.

I don’t remember planting…

But are we not always planting something?  Sowing? Tilling the ground of something in our lives?

Sometimes we are intentional putting down seed, other times the seeds of our words, our actions, even our thoughts spill out, or get flung to a far place. How it grows we never know.

But God.

He knows.

He is the great composter, wasting nothing in a life given up to Him.

He uses it all, the dregs, the leftovers, the parts unbecoming to sit and stew and die.

God uses it all because He is not afraid of the breakdown of death. He knows the seed that dies will produce life in the end.

Will I let Him peel away the parts of me that I think I need to survive this life? Instead of a bucket list, can I surrender to a bucket life, knowing that whatever gets put in there for  His glory will someday get used for His glory.

Even if I don’t remember.



2 thoughts on “I’ve Been Composted

  1. You truly have a way with words. I love the analogy. I wish I was good at gardening but it is not something I ever learned how to do well. Nevertheless, I’m grateful for those who have a God-given gift for growing things because I get to enjoy the end result. Looking at the beauty of God’s creation always makes me smile and gives me peace even in the most difficult times.

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