Several months before 9/11/01, our two young interns sat me down to talk. In order to reach people their age, they said, “you have to get an AOL instant messaging account.” They also informed me that I had to come up with a screen name. Because I was venturing into this new world begrudgingly, I told them that if they really wanted me to do it, they would have to come up with a screen name for me. With that, they went back to their office to figure it out.
About ten minutes later, they came back to my office. One of them said, “we think your name should be seedthrower, since that’s a big part of what you do.” They also added the fact that I’m always concerned with what sprouted, and how its growing, but that I’m not supposed to keep looking back to check. Ouch.
That’s the part that interested me the most, because they hit on a weakness of mine. I’m always want to see the fruit of my labors. But Jesus told us in Luke 9:62 that if you don’t trust and keep looking back, it won’t end so well for you. What a great challenge!
So, ever since that day, I’ve used the name seedthrower a lot. It’s a reminder of what I want to do, and a constant challenge to pay more attention to the future than to the past.
On 9/11, I was sitting in my office on the phone when one of my co-workers told me that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I quickly hung up the phone and went on-line to see if I could find out more. Because so many people were trying to do the same, the computers where unbelievably slow that day. When the next plane hit, there was no question we were in trouble. At that moment, I remembered my AOL account. I jumped on line.
Two young people from my parish, but away at college, quickly sent me messages. Both college sophomores, one was in Lynchburg Virginia, while the other was at Fordham, right in New York City. Both were really scared, especially the guy at Fordham, who could see and smell the smoke coming from the burning towers from his dorm window. What the heck was happening, they asked in our quickly created chat room.
We talked, prayed, and reminisced for a long time. When we finally ended, I remember thinking that I had never been so grateful for the amazing gift of technology. The time spent in that chat room were some of the most meaningful of my working career.
Scott, the young man at Fordham, asked me to call his mom to let her know he was ok. The phone lines were overloaded, and he couldn’t get through. When I finally reached her, she began to cry, telling me how scared she had been because she couldn’t get in contact with him. I think she signed up for AOL that very day.
The moral of this story is that each one of us should become seedthrowers. During our present difficulties, the seeds of hope need to be spread more than ever. Along with hope, spread the seeds of kindness, forgiveness, and love. Don’t worry about what’s going to sprout and take root. Trust God in that. Our job is to just throw the seed.
Sorry, Seedthrower and Seedthrower1 are already taken. How about you be Seedthrower2 or maybe Seedthrower3?