Scattered Seeds

When I was little I was fascinated with mythology and fantasy. I loved reading about different worlds and ideas about God. It seemed like there was so much possibility in these worlds. As I got older, I would read books and find in them beautiful gems of wisdom that I could carry with me to reflect on in my own life. I would watch a fantasy movie and find God written in the subtext. I would get so excited about it and want to share but people wouldn’t get it, it was strange to them.

I was walking with my friends and mentor up the side of a mountain in El Salvador to visit some people I had come to love. As I walked around, I noticed what looked like a field of green amidst an otherwise very dry and dusty road. I had the impulse to climb the ledge and go exploring, normally, I would squash it but I didn’t and I started climbing. My friends had noticed my diversion and followed. We found ourselves walking through a coffee finca. The light was captivating, it was shining through the leaves and there was this beautiful old tree with a hollow in it. You could rest on it, but there was a huge beehive there. I found myself buzzing with energy, caught up in the beauty and connection of it all

I was in the middle of writing a sacred biography about a person who I was arguing was a saint, when I ran into a writing block. I had to imagine what the sermon the woman heard, that changed her life, would have felt like and evoked. I needed to find a way to create that for the reader and I was stuck. I had been working on this project for days. For some reason I felt drawn to my pastels. It did not feel like the time, yet I couldn’t get at what I was trying to grasp. Things felt dry as if the well I draw from was empty. I took out my pastels and found myself creating images of light that felt like they captured the movements of her journey. After I finished, I was unblocked, I knew what I needed to write, and I was almost jumping with energy.

These are the moments of joy. The moments of rage have also been revealing. Rage about how many of my friends learned from a young age, that it was not their brains or hearts that men would be drawn to but their bodies, so that must be made the priority and focus. Rage about pressure to conform to a certain type of spirituality and experience of God. Rage about how depending on our family upbringing, context, and race, we are either more or less situated for access and success. Rage that those circumstances we were born into led to more wounds for some than others that get in the way of our relationship with God.

My vocation call seems to be to help people see God moving in their lives, whether it is through movies and books, nature, art, or people. My task is to help them see the web of life and recognize the threads that have been woven through their lives. To help them see that way that the creator is trying to draw them closer. What that looks like right now is pursuing learning how to make straw bale and cobb houses and being in conversation about living in an ecumenical community on the land that welcomes and supports people in transition spaces in life. This is still new and emerging.






6 thoughts on “Scattered Seeds

  1. Mary Catherine, you offer this powerful image: “I had the impulse to climb the ledge and go exploring, normally, I would squash it but I didn’t and I started climbing.”

    What’s the ledge in your life right now?
    What do you have the impulse to explore? Is it worth trusting?
    What tempts you to squash it?
    What’s your sense for the ways that God wants you to “start climbing” now?

    The last couple sentences of your post give some indication of a response to these questions, but I thought your images of the ledge and exploration and climbing might yield even more fruit.

  2. Mary Catherine, You are on an exciting journey. I would say this is because you have continued on it and trod along pursued paths that aren’t typically taken. I admire your adventuresome spirit and your courage and diligence in following your imagination, your joy, your creativity, your God.

    Luke stole my thunder 🙂 I also wanted to underline the part of your post that he cited. Something about that image seems really rich. You continuing on the path when you normally wouldn’t and finding this paradise of sorts. I find bee hives to be holy, matching the buzzing of the Spirit, the divine feminine, the sweetness of creation. So, yes, I wonder if you spend more time there in that memory what arises. How might it relate to your current chapter.

    A question for reflection that you may find helpful: how have you felt called to explore how God is moving in peoples’ lives? Have you had any experiences of listening to others’ experiences of God that has stirred this call or affirmed it?

    Thank you for sharing your unique and authentic call – there is brilliance in it.

  3. Mary Catherine, I feel so blessed by your testimony! Reading these vignettes, I find myself recalling a few things you shared in our learning group:
    You described a growing recognition of an emerging aspect of your vocation that has to do with artistic expression – but said you’ve never thought of yourself as an artist.
    You also expressed some hesitation or bewilderment about this unexpected turn in your vocational path as you make plans to begin building a land-based ecumenical intentional community.
    I wonder what it might feel like for you to see the artistic aspect of your vocation and this new community project as interrelated? Might the call to build this community be an invitation to lean into your creative longings and gifts with more confidence and self-trust? What would it feel like to picture this community project as that beautiful tree with the hollow in it that you saw in the finca in El Salvador? “You could rest on it, but there was a huge beehive there. I found myself buzzing with energy, caught up in the beauty and connection of it all.”

  4. I love your title of scattered seeds- a part of life that carries with it so much potential and energy waiting to be born. That energy was present in the open field where the light captivated you. Where do you see “light” shining through beautiful, “old hollow trees”? That energy was also present in the pastel painting “diversion”. Are there ways for you to create “images of light” that speak of the movements of your own journey? You have energy in helping people “recognize the threads that have been woven through their lives.” I wonder what threads are being woven together in your faith life? How is the creator drawing you closer? Your scattered seeds hold the promise of abundant new life!

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