It Starts with a Seed


J_BethanyS_750It started with a seed. A question: what if we moved?

It fell on hard ground the first time my husband asked it. It was winter, I was grieving the death of my mother. I felt frozen, numb, empty, barren. I couldn’t look around at my life and see anything for what it really was. I couldn’t know for sure whether the bare branches were hibernating or lifeless. So we waited, the possibility of what could be suspended somewhere in time.

Still, it was a small seed of hope, a tiny kernel of faith, that question.

Perhaps it’s the farm girl in me that always speaks in agrarian metaphors. I grew up in southwest Michigan on a corner of my grandfather’s land, surrounded by alfalfa fields and golden cornstalks. I was raised with the seasons, spring, summer, fall, winter—bud, bloom, flourish, rest, begin again. It taught me what it means to lay the seed in the soil and wait.

Except I’m not really that patient. Perhaps that’s why I couldn’t stay there forever. I wandered far from home, searching for my own way to live. I planted myself near The Big City, Chicago. I blossomed and flourished, I grew into myself. I went to college, I met a man and married him, I found a job.

And then came the shedding, a long season of grief and goodbye as my mother died. I lost so many things along with her death, past and future together, the girl I was, the woman I wanted to be.

Life felt like hard soil. Life felt like death.

But in time, my heart thawed. I woke up to myself. That question, that small seed of hope, sank deeper into the soil: where could we go from here?

And then a few small shoots sprang from its shell:

What did I want to do with my calling as a writer?

What did my husband want to do with his calling as a musician?

Were we the farmers planting our seeds in the soil, or were we the man who buried his talents in the sand?

Were we honoring God with our gifts?

Were we living into them?

Where could we go from here? Anywhere.

We chose Nashville. On Monday we’ll load up the U-Haul and head south. It has taken us several months of planning and hoping, of tending this small seed of ours, to make it grow into something real. And still, it’s chaos, like nature, like life. My apartment is a mess. Everything is everywhere and nowhere to be found at the same time. So many things have gone wrong, and also miraculously right at the same time.

You take the seed in the palm of your hand.

You place it in the open ground.

You gather the soil over it.

You wait.

You honor the seasons, the shedding and the flourishing; each are a necessary part of the process of wholeness.

You pay attention for that almost imperceptible moment when the earth will thaw and the tiniest buds will appear on bare branches.

And you watch as the light and color dawn. You learn to revel in it. You learn to thrive.

You learn to begin again.

It starts with a seed.


Image credit: William Warby

Bethany Suckrow
I’m a writer and blogger at at, where I shares both prose and poetry on faith, grace, grief and hope. I am currently working on my first book, a memoir about losing my mother to cancer. My musician-husband, Matt, and I live in transition as we move our life from the Chicago suburbs to Nashville.
Bethany Suckrow
Bethany Suckrow

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