New Hope for the Throwaways

Volunteer Peach Tree

On the edge of my property is a lone peach tree growing between the woods and the gravel drive. Years ago, someone probably finished eating a peach and carelessly tossed the pit out of their car window. With the dense undergrowth, the pit overcame insurmountable odds to sprout into a sapling and then grow into a small tree. The tree now provides some spectacular blooms in the early Spring. In mid-summer, I’ll even see a couple of peaches. It’s a minor miracle. Out of something unwanted and cast aside there arises beauty and fruitfulness.

In my darker moods, there are times that I feel like that throwaway pit. My value to others and to society seems to be a thing of the past. The fruit the ‘peach’ has been consumed with nothing left but an unwanted pit. I’m buried in the weeds, unseen and unnoticed.  

Fortunately, the mood soon passes.  I recognize the lies and turn my mind to who I am in the eyes of God.  Remembering the peach tree dispels the deception. I tell myself, “If God can do this to a discarded pit, just think what he can do with me!”

Pope Francis frequently uses the phrase “throwaway culture”. Unlike ‘cancel culture’ which is all about trumping up reasons to be offended, his “throwaway culture” refers to real throwaways in the real world. These include the very old, the very young, the immigrant, the prisoner, the refugee… Anyone to whom the forces of society have marginalized or diminished. In his latest encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, his section on the throwaways in the world describes a grim reality.

But he gratefully finishes the encyclical with a section entitled “Hope”. Echoing the lesson from the peach pit he says, “It is truly noble to place our hope in the hidden power of the seeds of goodness we sow, and thus to initiate processes whose fruits will be reaped by others.” (196)

Sowing seeds of goodness is another way to counter the “throwaway culture”. Sowing seeds of goodness is a sure remedy for the times I feel like one of the “throwaways”.

Whether you’re feeling like one of those ‘throwaways’, or worried about the ‘throwaways’ around the world, have hope. Cast out your own seeds – not throwaway pits but “seeds of goodness” – and let God do the rest.

And remember.  If God can do something so miraculous to a throwaway pit, just think what God can do with you!