The pandemic has changed all of our lives. Parishioner Kenny Meyer shares about finding God's blessings in the midst of the pandemic.

The first “Covid shut down” sometime in March of this year found my wife, Debbie, and me somewhat quarantined at our farm with our two married kids and three grandkids; oh what to do to keep the sanity?!! For several years, I had been wanting to build some raised planters for our vegetable garden, but never could seem to find the time.  I am not ashamed to say, I’ve gotten a wee bit too old to garden the old fashion way of bending, kneeling and stooping to cultivate, weed, shape mounds and pick the harvest. The collection of labor which I suddenly found myself with – and only because of the Covid Pandemic - was unprecedented – an able-bodied son, son-in-law and a grandson, age 6, who loves to use a power drill with a little help from his dad and “Pops”, as he likes to call me! 


With a design in mind and utilizing some recycled lumber and sheet metal siding laying around the barn, and supplementing these materials with new boards and screws, the grand build commenced. Over a few weeks, we managed to construct eight planters that would begin to replace our traditional farm garden.

We got each planter set in place with the aid of a tractor and filled each planter with a combination of native farm top soil and enhanced it with river bank soil from a commercial dirt yard, torpedo sand (to keep the soil loose), peat moss and homemade compost; the combined ingredients was a rich, dark brown mixture and being containerized, each planter had approximately the same formula; this compound of carefully crafted materials was bound to produce results – but how much – we did not know?!

The “girls” in the family are the planters (now that all the hard work had been done, but don’t tell THEM that!), and they carefully planted nine tomato plants in several of the raised boxes along with green beans, carrots, zucchini, black-eyed peas and serrano peppers; they gently packed the soil around each little plant and seed and then watered them in. It was now time to sit back, relax a bit from our collective labors, and let God work his miracle of growth, flowering and producing fruit. 

Over the ensuing days, we watched (somewhat impatiently!) the tomato plants and other vegetables grow and begin to bloom. As an aside, I have always marveled at God’s exact harmony of instilling into each planted seed the genetics to get a particular variety of vegetable or fruit each and every time – never faltering – so exactly how does a tomato seed know to become a tomato?! Around week five, we had to start staking the tomato plants as little fruits began to weigh down the stems.  As the days passed, more and more tomatoes grew out of more and more blooms.  Perhaps it was the “manure tea” (look it up on Google if you’re not familiar with this magic potion) we made as a natural fertilizer that exploded the numbers; but, maybe, just maybe, it was God at work combining his soil, his nutrients, his sun, his rainwater that made his plants so productive; we just supplied some helping hands along the way. God’s abundance is absolutely overwhelming – as mid-July is upon us, we have gathered well in excess of 700 tomatoes from the plants! Again, astounding is God’s bounty!

In reflection, as the pandemic wears on and tugs at our psyche, I have had more personal time on my hands than in the “good ol’ days” to ponder what God is trying to tell all of us since this virus really does belong to him. My extra time has been invaluable, as I had the chance to work side-by-side with my son and son-in-law in a hands-on project, and teaching my grandson how to read a tape measure, and “preaching” the first tenant in carpentry, “measure twice and cut once” has been an absolute joy; he is also learning about safety goggles, ear protection and respect for the tools that help us build the creations we conceive in our minds. 

John 10:10, “I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly” has been on my heart these past months as our garden flourishes, and this passage has a much profounder meaning than it used to: Jesus wants us to begin today to experience a new productive life with him – he does not want us to wait until we die to begin to enjoy his overwhelming loving and everlasting presence. The bounty of the tomato crop reminds me, too, of the Philippians passage, 4:19, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”– and the Lord’s Prayer wherein God promises us our daily bread.  The plenteousness of the tomato plants delivering so much fruit reinforces the realization that God gave to us first; He gave us the earth to manage; He gives us food to nourish our bodies; He gave and gave up his son for our salvation. 

Being cognizant of God’s copious generosity and love encourages us to give back to him by assisting others, sharing our God-given gifts with those in need. If recently, you have been blessed by an abundance of goodness, take time to thank God for his generosity; consider a gift of your time, talent and treasure to St John the Divine during this pandemic and watch how blessings flow back to you!

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