At this time of year, we have the hardest task on the Cedar Ridge Farm. For almost all of our volunteers, this is worse than digging raised beds, pulling up deep-rooted weeds, or pushing wheelbarrows of compost back and forth to the plots. It is the difficult—almost painful—task of thinning the seedlings!

“But they look so healthy!” is a common objection. And they are. Vibrant green leaves sunning themselves atop the vertical stalks that grow noticeably taller each day. It is so hard to pull out something so alive, something with so much potential.

“Can we replant them?” is a frequent request. We long to keep them all—however full the rows may be. But generally the roots are damaged and the tender seedlings can’t be saved.

This task always causes me to consider my life—with its many competing priorities: the family events and social occasions, fun activities and half-started projects, the necessary obligations, and self-imposed commitments. All of them are good in their own way, but there are just too many!

Rationally and experientially, I know the benefits of thinning. I’ve watched the seedlings that remain plant their roots deep into the soil and stretch out their limbs with exuberant foliage. I’ve seen the same in my own life, where less has meant so much more. Fewer, more focused activities that yield more satisfying results. More time with those I love the most. More stillness in which to sense God.

Celtic Christians have long talked of “thin spaces”—places where heaven and earth seem to come close, and God can be more readily experienced. This year, I will again use this reminder to try to simplify my life—or at least put a check on the escalating busyness—and create some “thin spaces” in my days. Care to join me?