The brightness of mid-summer takes my breath away. Russo’s is on fire with shockingly vivid fruits, neon pink flowers, the early cherries from Michigan and the Northwest, and gorgeous mounds of corn.
I asked my daughter to select four ears of corn and shucking them. I didn’t conceive of this as part of my spiritual practice, but I ended up connecting some spiritual dots as she went about doing this.
First — turns out she didn’t know how to do it. So I taught her and we practiced together. I thought about my grandmother (her great-grandmother) and many other of our ancestors, who would have learned this skill very early in life and been part of the harvesting, preparing, preserving of corn on a farm in southern Ohio or Indiana. An essential skill for them, shucking, and each part of the ear of corn a gift put to good use. They would have prayed for the harvest every day, sung hymns while they shucked, and given thanks to God once the harvest was gathered.
Then — as we stood there shucking corn, surrounded the verdancy and variety of a wonderful store, I became deeply aware of how outrageously fortunate we are. All over the world on that day, so many children would have been so thankful for just one ear of corn. So many children have so little choice, about produce or anything else. So many of my daughter’s age-mates face seemingly outrageous odds against violence, poverty, and oppression.
As we prepare to help 28 children claim their role as stewards of the earth at Vacation Garden School next week, I recommit myself to praying and acting for a better future for all of them, filled not only with corn, but with freedom of choice, peace, and justice. And I pray that the formation we offer at VGS helps my daughter and her fellow campers claim their role as ministers of reconciliation and hope, too.