by Debbonnaire Kovacs
My husband, an expert gardener, used to have trouble with Jesus' statement in John 12:24 that unless a grain of wheat dies, it won't produce fruit. "That doesn't make sense!" he said. "A grain of wheat won't produce any fruit at all if it dies!" He had not grown up going to church and being steeped in the Bible as I was. And while I am so deeply grateful for that childhood teaching that I can't possibly express it, he often made me aware that the other thing I was steeped in was other people's interpretations of what the Bible means. It takes a new eye, sometimes, to make me recognize a new thought. I was so certain of what Jesus meant that it took me a second of startlement to even realize Les' problem. "Well, um. . ." I said wisely (we're also taught to interpret the Bible for others in our turn), "I think it was an analogy. . ."
Those moments when something makes you see in a new way, whether it's another person's words or a sudden inner twist of perspective, always–always–create what I like to think of as a tiny little quantum flux of the spirit–a change of energy in which God's Spirit can speak, if you catch the nanosecond and don't just automatically cling to your own idea.
I actually felt a little ping inside, physically, as I said, "If you were the grain, you'd think it was death." It didn't seem to grab him as it grabbed me (isn't that often the way?) but he nodded and accepted that Jesus might have meant something like that.
This wasn't a particularly large change of idea; it was more a clarification of what I had already believed about this statement. But, as again is often the case, it turned out that this twist of perspective was to be vital to my spiritual survival a few years later. Fast forward to Les' last illness, and the heavy counseling I waded through as I not only dealt with his long death, but with the inner demons which were stirred up by this crisis. I had a lot of childhood issues, but I had believed for years that they had been expelled. By faith alone, like salvation, you know? No need for human intervention or interference. . . Thank God for a pastor who knew better!!
Out of that crisis arose this poem:
Buried. . .
Outer hull softening. . .
Tearing. . .
Breaking away. . .
Breaking in half–
Tiny green thread
reaching. . .