Thursday, July 23, 2015

garden patch spirituality

And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden...
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it 
~ Genesis 2:8 & 15 ~

I don't know much about life, and I can't claim to be an expert on anything, really. But I do know that it feels good to keep a garden. It feels good to get down on my knees and work with my hands in the dirt. It feels good to plant, to tend, and then to yield a harvest. 

I planted my 6th garden this summer. After 6 years of gardening I am learning a few things, mostly through trial and error, and asking my grandparents for advice. But the more I garden the more I am learning that growing vegetables is really just a byproduct.  The real value, for me, is in the time spent in quiet, peaceful labor. As I work in my garden, God is working in me and revealing truths to my heart. 

It feels good to foster life. I believe we are hard wired to choose life. I'm not trying to get political here.  There is a political side to this, but just forget that for a moment and think about what it feels like to see the destruction of life. Whether it be a house plant that has withered, a bird that has crashed into your sliding glass door, or a human being who has passed away, it hurts to see a loss of life. Conversely, the first blooms of spring, green grass after a hard rain, a new baby welcomed into the world; life feels so good! And in gardening, you are laboring to bring about life.

Weeds grow faster than seeds. And if we don't get out there and pull weeds on a regular basis they are going to completely choke out those little sprouting seeds. In the same way our souls need constant examination, otherwise it is so easy for sin to take root and take over our lives.

Don't leave room for the weeds.  Sometimes it's not enough to just pull the weeds out, leaving big empty patches of dirt. Those weeds will be back before you know it. Instead, when you pull up weeds, put something good and life-giving in their place. It's not enough to get rid of a sinful habit, you have to put a virtue in it's place or that habit will just come back.

Sometimes you need to thin things out. There is such thing as too much of a good thing.  If your carrots and beets are crowded in their rows you're going to end up with very small and scraggly carrots and beets. Don't try to cram too much into one space. Pare down, spread out, focus your energy and resources on a less things, but on growing those things really well.

Gratification is not instant. In this day and age instant gratification is everywhere. But it's good to have to wait for a reward. Waiting cultivates patience, and patience cultivates character. The rains will come, the sun will shine, and little by little leaves will grow and flowers will turn into fruit. And when it does it tastes that much sweeter for the time and labor you have put into it.

I hope all of your gardens are producing beautiful fruit. 


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