Simcha tended his garden with great care, gingerly cultivating the important things: forgiveness, joy, the kind of grace that leans in and speaks directly to the heart. Rescue grew on a tree by the river, with branches that swept shade over the delicate plants blooming nearby. Simcha watered and pruned all things green and pulled out life-stealing weeds. He sang as he worked because a cheerful heart brings life. He succeeded in his effort and with his garden Simcha fed many souls.
In the evenings the elderly man would kneel in the dirt and bring in the harvest, making heaping mountains of redemption with the fruit of the land. And he'd drag it, carry it, and convince it to follow him to the open markets of his village. From there it would make its way to the backs of pack animals, the bottoms of carriages, and into the holds of great ships about to go out to sea. In this way Simcha's garden was carried to the whole world.
When he traveled to new places he was amazed to see some of his offerings had been transplanted into gardens of their own. Great sweeping vines and graceful trees lined deserts, reaching in to transform the barren landscapes into lush vineyards. He was joyful, exceeding so, at the sight.
"All this," he said, awe-struck, "from just one seed planted in rough dirt under a glaring sun."
It had been a withered, undignified seed. Simcha could not have imagined how it would sprout and bloom, never mind grow into so many varieties. It had only come from his heart. He'd pulled it out himself, with more strength than he knew he had. What he thought was the decaying remnant of pride, maybe selfishness or some other destructive attribute, turned out to be something else entirely. In its atrophied state and buried deeply in good, healthy soil, it became life. Life took root and became blooms of every kind everywhere the light shone and some places it didn't. His effort had been worth it.
That throwaway seed had turned out to be vital. But it wasn't easy to remove. He felt like he'd climbed a mountain to get to the point where he could pull it out. His days were spent reaching and grasping, squinting for a view of the top, hanging there just long enough to realize he needed help. If he needed help, was he really in the right place? But each time help came, with a breeze or a glimpse of hope to lift him up. Each time he encountered resistance Simcha learned to persevere. After a while, it didn't take as long to recover his strength, not nearly as long as it had before. His arms and legs became strong. He had the ability to climb.
And just when he thought he needed to rely on that ability and newly acquired strength, a gust of air, a breath, lifted Simcha from his effort and carried him higher and higher. In a flash, the desperate climber was at the top of the mountain. He'd been lifted. Not by his own hand, but by something he couldn't see, something that was not dependent on Simcha himself.
In his hand was the seed. His pride, withered and defeated. It seemed he should bury it as deeply as he could, somewhere with the unflinching and direct desert sunlight. Someplace that would kill it, so he would never have to deal with it again. He had no idea what would happen once he buried it. After that, he began to look at withered things with a little more expectation.
Simcha is part of a series published online.