In Praise of Compost 5-1-2022

As spring warms the earth, the work of the garden begins. And, as every serious gardener knows, compost is not a pile of garbage but life itself.
Gardeners have long realized the secret of the compost pile for nourishing and maintaining a garden of beauty and bounty. In a compost pile, nature transforms our unused, unwanted scraps into nutrient-rich soil. Like the garden itself, the compost heap rests during the cold winter months under the snow, slowly changing in form from a pile of dead leaves and rotting food into humus, nature’s own rich fertilizer.
Yes, it stinks, it generates heat, it’s an ugly pile. But it is one of nature’s most amazing metamorphoses. The brown of dead leaves provides the carbon; the green of fruits and vegetables, as well as the eggshells and coffee grounds, are rich in nitrogen. Bacteria and fungi, earthworms and insects break the material down. Rain, air, time and temperature transform the worthless and unwanted into the richest of soil for the most bountiful of harvests.
In this Easter springtime, composting can be more than a gardening miracle but a living parable of the transformation we can affect in our own lives. In God’s time, with God’s grace, we can transform the “scraps”, the hurts, the disappointments of our lives into a rich “humus” in which the life and love of God can take root and flourish. The Easter Jesus shows us that change is always possible, that we can always begin again and again and again. Like good composting, such transformation demands the hard work of surrendering our brokenness, our insensitivity, our stubbornness, our self-absorption, and placing it all in the “pile”, then trusting God to work his miracle of transformation. The compost pile teaches us to embrace life, to reject nothing, to be open to mystery, to become what God desires of us all: to be humus, to be human.


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