Dream come true.

Karla Stoltzfus Detweiler, the new Executive Director of Hungry World Farm, with her family.
Karla Stoltzfus Detweiler and her family joined the HWF team in June. A former Mennonite pastor now volunteering as HWF’s Executive Director, Karla finds meaning and hope by living in attentive relationship with the Earth.

These days, I need only look outside my window, or walk out the door, to confirm that dreams come true.

Recently our 4-year-old daughter earnestly asked, “Do dreams come true? How?”

This bed of tall, colorful zinnias:  a dream come true! 

Buckets of fleshy, sweet orange and red bell peppers:  pinch me, please!

Lettuce grown right here in every season: amazing!

Every day, a thousand dreams come true for me and my family:  a steep forest path to climb, breathing deeply the smell of damp earth; delicate mushrooms to marvel at; crisp, ripe apples free for hungry passers-by;  fluffy baby chicks freshly hatched;  friends and neighbors to pray, work and laugh with; and all these just a few gifts of TODAY.

I had dreamed of living on a farm, of conducting our lives in a way that was more closely tuned to the rhythms of the garden and wild earth. I wanted a farm life that not only nourished me and my family, but that extended healing and hope to others. I shared my dream with my husband, and together we prayed the dream; tried relinquishing that dream; wrestled with God over the dream, until God led us to Hungry World Farm. A dream come true!

There are lots of bad dreams coming true these days, too. A deadly global pandemic. Wildfires. Drought. Floods. Racial tensions. Economic stress. Political polarization. Familiar systems falling apart.

Is it insensitive to speak of happy dreams coming true? Is it naïve to keep dreaming of better things to come?

This spring, we broke sod to plant our family’s garden at Hungry World Farm. We hoped to grow enough food to supply our family with fresh produce for the summer, and to have extra to preserve for the winter.  But the “timber soil” on top of the ridge where we live is heavy. I felt discouraged as I tried to prepare beds for lettuce, broccoli, and potatoes. As I dropped tiny parsnip and carrot seeds into clods of clay, I doubted whether our dreams of abundant produce would be realized.

Though I have gardened all my life, in a variety of soils, I was amazed and grateful to see full rows of delicate green seedlings emerging from the clay. And I am delighted now, months later, as we unearth carrots and potatoes and parsnips that have drawn nourishment from the soil all summer long. The life of the soil, the goodness the garden yields, is a miracle. A dream come true.

And I can’t help but keep hoping big hopes: if tiny seeds can sprout from heavy soil and bear abundant fruit, can’t our seeds of love for neighbors who may be different from us transform a fearful and polarized society? 

And if the scraps of cast-off vegetable peelings and dry leaves can turn into compost that’s teeming with life, surely the scraps of our ravaged, raging Earth can be nurtured back into balance.

Surely, as we tune into the rhythms of Creation, as we mimic wild systems and nurture the life of the soil, our planet will heal. Surely the bad dreams will quiet down, and hope-filled dreams will come true.

At a time of ecological and moral disaster, the prophet Joel offered these words of hope:

Don’t fear, fertile land;
    rejoice and be glad,
    for the Lord is about to do great things!
Don’t be afraid, animals of the field,
        for the meadows of the wilderness will turn green;
    the tree will bear its fruit;
        the fig tree and grapevine will give their full yield….

…I will pour out my spirit upon everyone;
        your sons and your daughters will prophesy,
        your elders will dream dreams,
        and your young people will see visions.

(Joel 2:21-22, 28, Common English Bible)

God, give us dreams full of hope. Let your Spirit-breath animate us so we may join in your work of healing and renewing your Earth.

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