The Garden and the Desert

The Garden and the Desert

John 15:9-11 English Standard Version (ESV)

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

    Yesterday was the anniversary of my mother’s death.  Her presence remains in that Great Cloud of Witnesses that surround us and she is always cheering me on. And as I look back she taught me several things.

First she taught me to be the wolf. For a wolf walks in a pack, but stands alone  when need be, he is not a part of the crowd. Along with that she taught me there is no valor in compromise.

    Secondly my mother taught me not to fear death. That our faith teaches us that we will continue, and to trust in Christ. Her favorite saying was: “The young do, and the old must,” we are to mourn  those who die, but we are to move on and live our lives fully.

    Finally my mother gave me a poem, which slowly I am learning to appreciate by W.H. Auden:

” For the garden is the only place there is,

but you will not find it.

Until you have looked for it every where

and found it nowhere that is not a desert.”

    In the midst of the desert of  high rents, gentrification, thousands of people suffering on the streets, apathy of people, I find the garden; For you see in the Bible we sometimes find God’s truth in the gutter, deep in the center of dark hardship where there is little margin and perhaps where God feels absent; And so in San Francisco I both the desert and the garden.

    The garden flourishes in the lives of the people we touch every day, food, socks, and the  time spent hanging out with them; the garden is found in the beauty of the City and it’s surroundings; and the garden is found in each one of us as we grow, and develop our inner selves. The garden and the desert are intertwined,  without one there is not the other.

    If there is a piece of advice to be given, it is that wherever we are, we find both the desert and the garden, for they are both within us. Moving from one physical location to another we still take both the garden and desert with us.  When we tend the garden within ourselves it blossoms, whether we are housed or live on the streets, sick or well, rich or poor, and the best tool to cultivate the garden with is love:

juJ”9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

www.temenos.org

punkpriest1@gmail.com

415-305-2124

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