Breaking through My Asphalt

I am reading a classic book, “God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism,” by Abraham Joshua Heschel.

I was inspired to do so after reading a biography of Rabbi Heschel, perhaps the preeminent Jewish faith writer and a leading social justice advocate of the 20th century. I chose to read about him as part of my study of becoming a stronger spiritual leader.

The tenacious plant at the Hinton Center

I finished reading his biography while on retreat recently at the Hinton Rural Life Center in North Carolina. As I closed the book, I was deeply moved, and prayed. Then, I took a walk.

On the walk I came across a plant growing in an asphalt road. There was no crack or break in the asphalt in any direction for more than 10 feet. It seemed impossible that the plant should be growing, and seeming to thrive, there. 

I started to cry–tears of recognition. I remembered how Heschel says that while the Bible is a record of our search for God, it is just as much a record of God’s search for us. God never gives up seeking us, even when we turn away from God.

This little plant is giving forth its green beauty tenaciously, just like God. Today, may I be open to God, breaking through the aspalt of my life.

Published by

Robin Hawley Gorsline

Robin is a poet (claiming this later in life) and Queer Theologian--reflecting a soul of hope and faith and joy and justice/shalom. He is happily married to Dr. Jonathan Lebolt (20 years and counting), the proud parent of three glorious daughters (and grateful to two wonderful sons-in- law and a new one soon!), and the very proud "Papa" to Juna (6) and Annie (3).

2 thoughts on “Breaking through My Asphalt”

  1. Robin – the plant in the road is a blackberry, one of the most successful plants in barren climates. I have a few (planted by God) growing in my yard. They can be a nuisance, just like the rest of us, but what tasty fruit they bear! And they grow in asphalt! (See Matthew 13: 20-22). Sometimes the joy takes root!
    It was also a joy to see you last night, and Jonathon this morning. We plant on fertile ground.

    1. John, thank you for identifying the plant. I thought that is what it was, but am glad for your confirmation. I remember my mother picking blackberries on our farm, and every year she came back with chiggers. So, there are various ways of nuisance. But she did it each year anyway, because we all enjoyed them so much! And yes, it was joy for me to see you, too (you are never a nuisance, as far as I am concerned).

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