Testimony to Community Life
The Story of the Little Seed
Once upon a time, there was a little seed, in a big garden full of all kinds of living things. This little seed was born into a nice family, where it was protected and nourished. It was connected to a source of life, and had full potential to grow into something beautiful.
Suddenly, a storm came. The little seed was picked up by the storm, and taken away to another part of the garden, far, far away from its family. It had to learn how to survive in this new land, but it was so difficult, because the conditions and lifestyle in this land was so different from what it had known. The little seed struggled to put down roots. Even though it had access to some water and nourishment, there was no one to watch over it and make sure that it grew into what it was meant to be.
The little seed, now a seedling, could see that it would not survive on its own. It cried out to the Great Gardener to help, to put it back on the right course. The Gardener heard its cry. His heart melted, for He loved all of His plants, and wanted each of them to grow to their fullest potential, for only then would the garden be at its most beautiful.
The Gardener picked up the little seedling and brought it to a pond, where there was ample water and sunlight for the seedling to grow, and where it would be safe from danger. He sent His servants to watch over it, to fertilise, cultivate, water and protect it.
Little by little, the seedling was able to extend its roots and grow to maturity in its new home. Nourished and nurtured in this pond, it was able to bloom and blossom into a beautiful lotus flower. In realising its potential, it was able to play its part in the Gardener’s plan for an exquisite and pleasing garden!
What does it mean?
My mum tells me that my name, Sulyn, in Chinese, means “little lotus flower”. So from this story, you can guess that I am the little seedling that struggled to grow, until the Gardener placed it in the right environment, providing the right kind of nurture and care for it to blossom. The Gardener, of course, is God, and the right environment, the pond, is Disciples of Jesus Community (“DOJ”, “Community”). The servants are my brothers and sisters in Community.
When I was 17, I moved out of my parents’ home in Perth, and came across the country to Sydney to study. I did well enough, in a worldly sense, but I struggled to maintain and practise my Catholic faith, because I had no one to support me, to journey with me, to help me grow. Going to church was a lonely experience for me, as none of my peers were interested in it at all. During this time, I knew deep within me, that something was missing. I knew that there was so much more to God, and to life, than I had discovered so far. I cried out to God – “If you are real, then show me!” And He did!
He brought me to the Summer School of Evangelisation in 1997, run by DOJ. This was a life changing experience. There, I found other young people who believed in God – other young people who were trying to walk the same road as me, trying to live a life of faith in this secular world. There, I also discovered that there is such a thing as a personal relationship with God. There, I found Christian community.
I joined DOJ in 1998. They are family to me, in a city where I had no one. They are the ones who have loved me and cared for me. They have walked the journey with me. They challenge me to live a spiritual life. They pray with me, teach me, support me and nurture me in my faith. They inspire me to keep going when times are tough, and they celebrate with me in good times. They are living examples to me, of what it is to live a Christian lifestyle – I see married couples who love one another deeply, and who, despite difficulties, continue on in their commitment to God, and to one another; I see how it is possible to raise a Christian family; I see men who are not afraid of responsibility and commitment, and who are able to show affection for one another and for their wives and children; I see women who know what it is to be loved and cherished, and who are able to freely do the same for their husbands and families and friends; I see men and women who are free to say YES to God’s calling on their lives, and NO to the ways of the world; I see a deep love for the Church and the Sacraments; I see a deep respect for consecrated life; I see God every day in these people.
I thank God for the gift of Community. Without it, I would not have grown and blossomed into the woman that I am. I would be a lot further away from realising my potential as a child of God, and perhaps a lot further away from God Himself.
Sulyn (November 2007)