a place of abundance

"we went through fire and through water, yet You brought us out into a place of abundance" Psalm 66:12b

Compost Redemption June 29, 2011

Filed under: encouragement,perspective,spiritual life — vivmabuni @ 8:58 pm

I grew up in beautiful Boulder, Colorado. It was part granola, part college town, part triathlete mecca, and very cause-oriented. The same spirit that cities like Berkeley, CA and Madison, WI share. I remember in 6th grade watching my classmate, Leslie, make a tear-filled plea on the six o’clock news for the plight of the prairie dogs.  Bulldozers were clearing an abandoned field, their home, away to build a gas station. “Prairie dogs have rights, too!” she said with deep resolve and eyes and nose running with raw emotion. We were ecologically minded in Boulder before the term “green” became a household word.

Fast forward several (and I do mean several) decades and now I find myself as a mom of three, and woven into my make up are threads of cause-oriented, save the earth passion. I am, however, a self-proclaimed “light green” member of earth. Our recycling trashcan gets filled twice as fast as regular trash, I use cloth dinner napkins, Tupperware instead of plastic baggies for Julia’s lunches, I bring a personal travel mug and water cup to Starbucks and I faithfully use my reusable grocery bags (thanks Abby and Simone) everywhere I shop. But that’s about the extent of my “greenness.” So when an opportunity came to accompany Julia on her third grade field trip to Mission Viejo city hall to learn about taking care of the environment I was all in.

My favorite station was learning how to make compost. Combine and mix green waste, brown waste, water and scraps of fruit and vegetable discards from daily food prep at home and lots of coffee grounds. Lots from our kitchen. Lots. Seemed easy enough. It was worth a try.

Julia and I returned home and emptied out a large plastic pot and followed the directions in the pamphlet they gave us. Grass clippings, dried leaves, water and then what ended up being a large bowl of bruised fruit, onion skin, wilty lettuce, and coffee grounds–all stuff I would have normally thrown out. We placed the top of the unused plastic green turtle sandbox cover over our magic mixture. The next day we added another full bowl of kitchen discards, mixed it up, recovered it.

And now it sits. Each day another bowl full of discards gets mixed into the muck.

And over time the stuff that would have normally been thrown away turns into an amazing source of nutrients for whatever trees or plants I chose to bestow the amazing black gold (the term the compost lady called it).

This process of compost redemption reminds me of a quote I read a few months back:

“When we grow, in contrast to merely change, we venture into new territory and include more people in our lives–serve more and love more. Our culture is filled with change; it’s poor in growth. New things, models, developments, opportunities are announced, breathlessly, every hour. But instead of becoming ingredients in a long and wise growth, they simply replace. The previous is discarded and the immediate stuck in until, bored by the novelty, we run after the next fad. Men and women drawn always to the new never grow up. God’s way is growth, not change. Organic is a key image. Nothing in our past is thrown out with the garbage; it’s all composted and assimilated into a growing life. And nothing–no “moral, no “principle”–is tacked on from the outside. David at thirty-seven was more than he was at seventeen–more praise, saner counsel, deeper love. More himself. More his God-given and God-glorifying humanity. A longer stride, a larger embrace.”

P. 136-147 Leap
Over A Wall–Eugene Peterson 

So day after day I am finding hope as I think about that compost pile and my life. All those things that I would have deemed discards–poor choices, immature attitudes, blatant sin, disappointments, the years the locust have eaten, character defects, all those things I would rather toss out in shame, my loving Father is able to Romans 8:28 * them into something useful, rich, beneficial. Nothing wasted. Amazing grace.

I have just the perfect song to share, but still need to learn how to add a you tube clip to a blog post. Will post it as soon as I learn.

* Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.


11 Responses to “Compost Redemption”

  1. Toni Sonnenfeld Says:

    This is beautiful. The older I get, I realize what some of the mistakes were for. To share with others so they don’t have to make the same errors in their lives.

    • vivmabuni Says:

      Agreed. Hindsight is 20/20. I would also add that I am thankful when God gives me insights to the why’s, and probably even more grateful that the mistakes aren’t disqualifiers, but can be bridges into other people’s lives who struggle, fall and fail–just like me… Can’t wait to see you!!!! 🙂

  2. onesamsa Says:

    Dear Viv: I read your compost blog and how it blessed me…I love so much about the way you presented growth…So thoughtful, so touching…. My heart opened up ~ I could feel it…Gave me a better more hopeful look at compost of my own life…Both in the cultivation and in the deepening renewal of my understanding of God’s endless love for us…I know I will never fully “get it” and take refuge, sactuary in the freedom that it is not required of me…But to grasp what I can and what is truly right-in-front-of-me makes me look at my coffee grounds differently…The real ones and those of my own past sins, disappointments, lost dreams, broken-ness…New life is being generated out of heaps of “stuff” What a beautiful way to present an idea that could so easily be over-looked. Thank you so much for such a rich blessing today… I love your writing and cannot wait for the book…Big Blessings from our amazing God,
    Big Hug, Big Love, Always, Sam xoxo

    • vivmabuni Says:

      Sam, thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Thankful that we can encourage each other in the midst of our coffee grounds. Drives home, for me, the grace of God and His greatness. Only He can bring life out of death and turn around our biggest sins or shame to become a blessing to others. Sending hugs back your way!

  3. Pat M. Says:

    Way to go, Viv…The richness of the content of your thoughts, the appropriateness of your quote (ignore my Peterson bias [:), the immediate locking in on my shared interest of gardening, gets you my vote of “keep up your good work”. I was lifting you and your family up in prayer time this morning…now to have this great “dessert” before bedtime is the blessing of my day. Pat M. (P.S. Do you suppose the City you mentioned would have a spare copy of the compost instructions?)

    • vivmabuni Says:

      Pat, you amaze and encourage me! I want to be like you one day! Love how you are so comfortable navigating the computer world. Most women I know in your season of life stay far away from anything to do with the Internet and here you are fully engaged with Facebook, blogs, etc. Thank you for your encouragement and especially for your prayers. I have had a really good past few days and I know it’s because you prayed. 🙂
      As for the pamphlet, I am pretty sure they would have more. Would be happy to check for you. Although, with your computer savvy I bet you could google search and find all sorts of wonderful compost info and instruction. 🙂

  4. Terry Baxter Says:

    So with you in the green–have a compost pile in my garden area!!! but am going through some real muck right now and needed to have confirmation that God will indeed use it for good ultimately…the second time today I have heard this promise…!! thank you so much…love and hugs, Terry

  5. Lisa Murtaugh Says:

    Wow! I am forwarding this one! You give so much courage!

    I have been doing the Jillian Michael’s 30 day shred with Loi. Jillian states, toward the end of the 20 minutes during some crazy ab crunches, “If you want the body to change (grow) you have to put stress on it!”
    Compost and ab crunches. (I almost wrote “ab brunches”. Maybe you can blog about that sometime:D!!!)

    • vivmabuni Says:

      Hey Lis, Thanks for your encouragement. Ah, stress. Makes sense about change/growth through stress. Will be chewing on that one…yes, good stuff for a future blog. 🙂 love you!!!

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