seeds, bulbs of faith

To some people this is a not-so-graceful looking, ordinary bulb sitting in a cheap plastic cup partially filled with gravel.  Not so exciting.  Hardly something to get emotional over.

….Unless at the beginning of the academic year in September your students, along with their families, carefully planted these “mystery bulbs” in gravel, with each bulb representing a character quality they wanted to cultivate within themselves.  They then wrote each quality on the outside of the cup, and began the long process of watering and caring for their bulbs…and their qualities…expectantly.

Each week, when the students have come to the cabin, and have had the opportunity to visit our greenhouse, they’ve been able to see that they’re not only watering their bulbs, they’re at work developing their inner qualities.  It is a wonderful metaphor. And while they may not see immediate results with their bulbs, they are learning about the confidence and patience necessary to keep nurturing them (and themselves) until they do see results.

Well, our academic year has progressed into December, and students have begun to find their place and sense their value in our Scholars community, and they’ve begun expressing and showing the character qualities that we all strive to practice…just one of the many reasons I am SO grateful to be involved in this comm-UNITY.

Just before our December break we all ventured silently in a mindful meditation walk in the wee hours of a very crisp morning. The assignment, besides the moments of awareness with our surroundings and our breath as we walked, was to stand quietly in our domed greenhouse and listen or look for a lesson that it had to teach each of us. EACH student had humble and wise things to share when we returned to our cozy morning circle near the warm and blazing fire in our fireplace.

And I realized that I had had a touching lesson, too. Each week, often when our students were taking their afternoon “quiet time” I would hoof up to the greenhouse, expectant of the new growth I would see in the herbs and salad greens we had planted, as well as to see visible signs of growth from our “character bulbs.” For the first many weeks, they usually looked dormant…but I just KNEW they weren’t. And then, after about nine weeks, I began to see a few bulbs splitting their outer skins, or bits of roots tangling in the gravel of the cup…and then in the next weeks, bits of green were sprouting out the tops and sides of a few, then many more…then all of them showed activity!!! Pure excitement for me.

It was after that morning’s “silent lesson” in the greenhouse that I found I had learned a bit more about faith. On that morning I realized that all along, without a doubt I just KNEW that these bulbs would sprout and grow when cared for…just as I had known that these qualities that our students had nourished and practiced would sprout and show. I saw that it clearly was a step beyond wishing or hoping. It was an inner “knowing,” something I could really count on…and it really touched me and reminded me that I could count on this solid “knowing” in other facets of my life, as well. So I shared my gleanings with our students because I think it is so important that we teach our children that there ARE things we can believe in, rely on, have faith in…things that may not show themselves right away, but that we can work towards with a reliance that grows within us. And that we can carry  that faith with us and use it wherever we go. Grateful once again for the concrete lessons that come from delayed gratification “opportunities.”

So…this might just look like an ordinary bulb in a plastic cup, but it has been SO much more! When one sees the dawning smile on a Scholars student or instructor’s face when he or she notices the bulb’s growth, it indeed can bring quiet tears of joy…and a life-lesson in planting and watering the seeds in ourselves so that our “green-ness” (our light and life) sprouts and grows.

Check back again for photo updates of our blossoms in January…from our bulbs AND from our students.

Written by Tien Stone Langlois, Director Scholars Together Learning Community

photos by Jay Langlois, Instructor at Scholars Together

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