The bean in the cup
I can still remember gripping that cup in my hand on the bus ride home. I had a strange, almost maternal, reaction to it, to the promise that lay within. Would that dried, white bean really turn into something beautiful? My stomach turned with excitement.
I distinctly remember finding a place in my backyard --- far out of the reach of my three siblings --- for my little bean to grow. We had a wooden shed at the side of the house for firewood. I climbed to the top of it, found the sunniest spot, carefully set it down and stared. After a while, I reluctantly climbed down, relinquishing my cup to the elements.
Let me change that: Actually, I did not relinquish my cup. To relinquish means to let go, to surrender. I did not do that. In fact, I did the opposite.
Mrs. Bentley firmly directed us not to touch the bean; we were to leave it deep in the dirt. The next day, however, I climbed on top of the shed and eagerly shoved my index finger into the blackness. Once I found the hardness of the bean, I dug it out and examined it for any sign of life: a bump that indicated growth, a change of texture on the surface, a hint of green.
Of course, there was no change. So, the next day, I unearthed the poor bean again. And, again. Not just once but several times a day, my finger pulled it from its place for a thorough analysis. Each time, of course, the bean looked exactly the same.
How do you surrender --- relinquish --- your desires and just wait to see what happens? So far, two words seem to offer an answer: humility and trust.
About three weeks into this process, I was forced to face what I had done. My bean could never take root; it was still just a bean. The dream of watching it grow into something beautiful was never realized. I felt ashamed of myself. I threw my treasure into a trashcan.
The next month, Mrs. Bentley asked her students to bring their bean plants to class. The plants were tall, lush and green. When she asked about mine, I could not answer.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about that bean. In many ways, I realize that I am still that little girl on top of the shed: anxious, overly eager and impatient with the ways of the world, with the intrinsic order of things. I still allow my desires to get the best of me. I find myself wondering what beans planted in my life have not taken root because of my inability to let larger plans unfold.
How do you surrender --- relinquish --- your desires and just wait to see what happens? So far, two words seem to offer an answer: humility and trust. I must have the humility to realize I am but a speck in the universe whose ways and desires are incidental, at best. And I must trust that I am loved by a God who has happy plans for me, if only I will allow them to be realized.
These are the thoughts I will hold onto when my finger gets itchy for some digging. Perhaps, then, I will behold the transformed beauty I so desperately wanted from that dirt-filled cup, a beauty that only requires me to stay out of His way.
Christa Chavez is the external affairs coordinator for St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower and is a member of St. Maria Goretti Church in Long Beach.
- Hayden Christmas Pageant
December 12, 2013 (8:30 AM)
- Nazareth House Auxiliary Christmas Luncheon & Card Party
December 12, 2013 (11:30 AM)
- Good Shepherd 90th Anniversary
December 12, 2013 (7:30 PM)
Prayer of the MonthPapal intentions for November: That priests who experience difficulties may find comfort in their suffering, support in their doubts, and confirmation in their fidelity. That as fruit of the continental mission, Latin American Churches may send missionaries to other Churches.
Papal intentions for December: That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.