Sunday, June 1, 2014

"Inch by Inch, Row by Row

Do any of you remember the motivational slogan from a few decades ago: "Today is the first day of the rest of your life"? Well, today that is especially true for me. Today is the first day of my life as a professor emerita and full-time children's book writer.

Today is also the first day of the summer worship schedule at my church, St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Boulder. We've moved worship time from 10:15 till 9:15 so that we can gather together in the earlier morning coolness. We've moved the pews to create a more intimate space in the front of the sanctuary. We're singing more songs from The Faith We Sing rather than the (beloved) standards from the hymnal. Out theme for the summer is "We dream, we grow, we share God's love."

As part of this theme of "growing," we each received a tomato plant to take home with us, as well as a little supply of (organic, meaning very smelly) plant food. I chose patio tomatoes that can grow in a container on my tiny deck. Whether my plant dies immediately as has been the fate of all plants ever entrusted to my care remains to be seen. But I'm cautiously hopeful.

Our church's delightful singing group, The AnthemAires, sang my favorite song in the whole world as the offertory: "The Garden Song" by David Mallett, made famous by Pete Seeger and Peter, Paul, and Mary: 

Inch by inch, row by row
Gonna make this garden grow
All it takes is a rake and a hoe
And a piece of fertile ground
Inch by inch, row by row
Someone bless these seeds I sow
Someone warm them from below
'Til the rain comes tumbling down.

I wept as they sang it. I love this song so much. It's been the mantra of my whole life so far. This is how I've written all my books, word by word, page by page, an hour a day. This is how I've built everything I value in my life, in small steps, inching forward. And now it's how I'm going to navigate the rest of my days.

Dear God, bless my little tomato plant and help it grow. Bless my sweet grandbaby, Kataleya, and help her grow. Bless the words I write, one after the other. Bless the years that will pass, unfolding to me one day at a time. May I use them in your grace and for your glory.


1 comment:

  1. LOVE this song, Claudia. I still remember John Denver singing it on The Muppet Show as a teeny inchworm crawled around in front of him. I sang it to my kids when they were babies.

    Jill Esbaum