When I go out to the garden on a beautiful spring day I face a duel reality. One, the garden as an inspirational ideal and two, the garden as a tough teacher. Here are 10 lessons I’ve learned and try, day by day, to pass along to my kids.
1) Enjoy the goodness of nature but remember…we aren’t in paradise anymore. Sweat, hard work, disease and death happen…but that’s no reason not to see, smell, touch and encounter the beauty before us.
2) Sweat wont’ kill you but heat stroke will. Keep your limitations in mind even as you stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone.
3) Bugs and weeds may be ugly and nasty but you’re a zillion times bigger then they are and don’t need to flee in terror…unless you happen to be facing some mutant mosquito from the Amazon… Face your fears or your fears will keep you running…forever.
4) All dirt is not the same. There is life growing dirt and there is dead dirt. Life has cycles, good times and bad times…you can learn and grow even in the bad times, while never doing anything leads to sterility and death.
5) Today’s dead things and useless weeds are tomorrow’s fertilizer. Don’t throw them away. Remember your losses and grow good fruit from the humus of past experiences.
6) Real work makes you tired. Just because something makes you uncomfortable does not mean it is bad for you. Often times sin is very attractive and fun while repentance is distinctly unpleasant, but sin leads to death, while repentance leads to life. Don’t let your sensory system always be your guide. Tough out the hard stuff when a job needs to be done.
7) You've got to work with the seasons. It doesn’t do to plant in December unless you live in Australia. As a non-God entity we don’t get to decide when, or if, it will rain or snow…be pleasantly hot or viciously cold. Read the signs of the times when you plan a project…note that it is not all about you. We have a bigger world to consider and other people’s reality to deal with….
8) We don’t always get what we want…no matter how hard we want it…nor how hard we worked for it…nor how much we may deserve it. Sometimes it is best to just let some things go and move on. Trying to fix a futile situation can lead to compulsive obsession and garden’s don’t grow well when over worked. Sometimes it is more fruitful to let a field go fallow for a time and try again next season…with something else.
9) That bug, stalking disease, fruit rotting infection that seems to be invading is not quite the end of the world….though it may be the end of your garden as you knew it…but when the garden fails - we have to come up with another solution. Face it. Complete disaster is only complete if you give in to it. Open the parameters of your thinking. Perhaps you can start another garden someplace else…join with someone’s garden…giving up and giving in to failure - leads to failure. Take a deep breath and consider your options and be willing to admit that things are a mite troublesome right now and ask for help if you need it.
10) When all is said and done…most gardens produce great food for the body as well as the soul. Don’t forget to be grateful.