The Nature of Growth

Oct 28, 2021

Recently my husband and I purchased 35 acres of land. Most of the land is wooded, but around the woods paths cut into the landscape. I adore walking down these trails. Every time I visit I look to see what new wonders can be found. Are there fresh animal tracks today? Can I detect remnants of our neighbor, Mr. Bunny? I look for freshly ripened dewberries and observe the wildflowers cloaking the trails. Most of all, I bask in the growth of the plants: ostrich ferns, hydrangea bushes, fig-trees, and pear trees, to name a few. With each visit, beauty and splendor greet me and I wonder at the new growth.

 Much like I desire the growth of my plants, I desire my own growth. I long to learn and do so much I desire to think, write, and speak more clearly. I desire to not only contemplate deep things, but also to understand deep things. Homer, Plato, and C.S. Lewis beckon me to fellowship, but once in their midst I am stupefied. What are they even saying? 

 At times I reprimand myself for not understanding, for not attaining. I think I should know this—come on! 

Is it wrong to desire growth? No, but perhaps it is wrong to focus so much on the growth that I become exasperated. Everyone knows that plants do not grow leaps and bounds while being watched. Instead, they grow steadily little by little in imperceptible measures. Do I demand too much growth of myself at one time? Probably. 

 Just like my plants, I need to slow down. I need to enjoy the deep conversations with these authors. I need to dialogue with community. I need to savor words both spoken and written to allow the good nutrients to seep down into my soul. I need to contemplate the truth, goodness, and beauty of the Lord. Most importantly, I need to just be me. And allow the growth to happen imperceptibly until one day I realize there’s new growth! 


Jessie Smith

Jessie Smith is a mother of four and has home educated her children since they could toddle. She holds a B.A. in Christian Education from Louisiana College in Pineville, LA. She plans to graduate from the CiRCE’s Gulf Coast Apprenticeship in 2022. She is entering into her second year of teaching online. 

Jessie missed reading great books as a child, but she is steadily catching up as an adult. Among her favorite stories are fairy tales and fables. Though there seems to be darkness all around, there is always light to be found. When she is not teaching or reading, she can be found cultivating her garden while taking great pleasure in watching her plants grow.

The opinions and arguments of our contributing writers do not necessarily reflect those of the Institute or its leadership.

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