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"Sitaw, Bataw, Patani"

(My potted bataw from seeds given by my cousin Merly)

Finding God in All Things

When I was in grade school one of my favorite subjects was Gardening. All the boys in my class were each assigned 3 x 6 feet plots behind the school. We tilled the ground with small picks and hoes, pulverized the soil and carefully shaped them into raised plots, then planted seeds, and watered them daily. We eagerly awaited the seeds to sprout from the ground into seedlings, cultivated the soil around each plant to aerate the roots, and waited for them to flower and bear fruit. We enjoyed harvesting them and proudly sharing them with friends, and of course, making them part of our meals.

Growing plants and vegetables is part and parcel of rural family life in my old country. The song "Bahay Kubo" (Small House) tells of the variety of plants raised by families around their homes. The video below mentions them all. Most families were self-sufficient in vegetables and the dishes tasted better because they were picked from the garden just before cooking.

In the city one can still enjoy gardening using pots or any suitable container. The enjoyment comes not so much from producing vegetables to eat but from the activities of gardening itself: preparing the soil, planting seeds or seedlings, watering and fertilizing them and watching them grow, flower and produce fruit and vegetables.

Container gardening can also be therapeutic. It can provide the atmosphere and environment conducive to reflection and prayer. Looking at the plants every so often can elicit amazement and wonder in their ability to grow and transform themselves even when you are asleep or are away for a time. Like any other created thing, plants and vegetables have a reason for their existence: to mature and bear fruit. They are meant for the dinner table, to provide nourishment for people.

People, much more so, have their own reason for being: Our Creator planted us on this earth to grow, not only physically but spiritually -- to blossom and bear fruit for the kingdom of God, to live a life pleasing to our Creator, and then when the time comes, to join Him in His heavenly kingdom . . . forever.

Creation is the Creator's own. We are stewards of it. Creation and its fruits are meant to give glory to the Creator. We are the pinnacle of His creation. We are meant for greater things.

Looking at my growing bataw plants each morning brings me into a prayerful, meditative mood. It helps me lift my mind to God and be thankful for all His blessings. My plants surely help make my day.#


"The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good." Genesis 1:12

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