I’m struck by the prolific green bean bushes. The more I pick, the more they produce. I venture out with my colander, and I return every two days with it half-filled with crisp, long, bulging green beans. How do so many grow so quickly?
I love the principle of it all: the more it offers, the more it can offer. It’s a generous plant, a biblical plant.
Then, while I sit crossed legged in the chairs designed for small children in the lobby of the Music Academy as my children practice piano, I read about the concept of saying “no” to oneself. It goes against the grain of everything I’ve read lately; instead of self-actualization, self-fulfillment, authentic selfhood, and saying “yes” to our true selves and true desires, the Christian notion of self-denial rubs at all my rough edges. It’s so unnatural! It’s so. . . wrong.
But maybe not. Maybe this is the most natural and obvious thing in the world.
It’s like the bean plant that gives everything away–everything!–and finds it has more and more to offer as a result. It doesn’t shrivel and suffer. Instead, it thrives at the very spot it lost a part of itself.
It’s right and good to say no to oneself. At that very spot, a harvest comes.