It takes a gardener to see.
When we arrived at her desk we weren’t even yet “green as the grass.” We were barren earth. Signs of life were few. Signals of genius scant. Marks of mature church leaders, sometimes non-existent.
It takes a gardener to see . . . beyond.
Where now there is only inert earth, there will soon emerge life, new growth.
Where now there is just a small shoot of green, the gardener envisions more—stem and leaf and flower!
It takes a gardener to see beyond . . . the present.
Where now there is stem, leaf, and flower, the gardener dreams of fruit—even much fruit, glorious fruit, ripening in the sunshine.
Gardners—I wonder if you have noticed—are both proud and humble. They are proud of the fruit. They hold it up for inspection with admiration and pride: “Look at this! Isn’t it beautiful?” They are proud of the fruit and flower, but humble about how it grew. They played a crucial role—undoubtedly. But in that role, the gardener has touched the hand of God, has seen the miracle of life and grace burgeon forth. The gardener is proud of fruit and flower. But the gardener knows—if any one does—that her hands did not produce it.
The gardener sees beyond . . . beyond herself to the miracle-working power of God.
Thank you, Mrs. Pam Swanson, for proving to be the nurturing, caring, lingering gardener for so many of us. Thank you for tending our fledgling academic programs, our weedy lives, and our bent spirits with tenderness and grace. Thank you for visioning what we might be through the touch of the Master Gardener.
It takes a gardener to see . . . you see.
-- John McVay, Seminary Dean
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