Monday, June 25, 2012

Gardening is Good for the Soul

There is bound to be a lot of entries about gardening on the blog because it's that time of year and gardening is a big deal with us. Looking at then and now pictures or seeing lush green crops in photos is nice but does not convey the full effect of the gardening process.

The hours spent hand howing lime into the soil. Baking in the sun. Drinking greedily from the hose. On your hands and knees digging, planting, weeding, thinning. The well-developed appreciation for the fact that God and not you make these things grow and prosper. Or not. The warmth of the sun and rain in its time is less about what to wear today and more like breathing. It becomes a part of your daily existence. It's a very connected feeling. Connected to the land, the crops, the weather and especially to our dependence on God for all things.

 The wonder at planting something you've never grown before and watching it come up unlike anything you expected. This is buckwheat. Not at all what I thought it might look like.

 The tomato plants that you stripped down to two leaves and and gently buried you realize have now become strong, lovely plants with tomatoes already setting on them.

 Bean teepees. Constructed with hope and expectation soon to be vining

With plants just emerged from the dry seed you placed in the ground

Tiny plants with the promise of large, crisp heads of cabbage,
hard as it is to believe when you put their fragile roots in the soil.

Now straining against their protective covers and looking strong and healthy.

Trust. Hope. Wonder. Gratitude. And so many lessons to be drawn about life.  So much potential in a small dry seed. How stripping branches and burying a plant may seem harsh but actually causes it to be stronger and more fruitful. The net of protection that keeps away the enemies that would devour. The strong framework that gives support to the plant that would otherwise fall on its own.

Life itself began in a garden. Tending the garden was the job God gave to man. Work with God's design and you will be rewarded and amazed. Work against His design and sooner or later you will be humbled. It is hard to feel far from God when one is tending the garden.

A couple weeks ago I realized I was still mourning the loss of fruit on our trees this year. Not a single fruit tree on our property will be producing this year due to a cold snowy spell that happened just as everything began to blossom. Did I believe I was owed a fruit harvest? Last year we reaped that which we did not sow. And while we appreciated it and there are still apples and peaches preserved and dried. Although, or perhaps because, we rely greatly on the produce of our land to supply us for the whole year, it seemed that I felt I was entitled to MY fruit. I asked God to forgive me and determined to thank God, even though "the tree does not blossom".

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither [shall] fruit [be] in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and [there shall be] no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3:17, 18

And now I wonder to myself, Is this how God gives rest even to the trees and vines? Could we see a larger harvest someday in the future because of the loss of harvest now? I can't know but I do know He has a plan and His way is always good. Am I willing to trust His provision even though my own plan has had a wrench thrown into it? Yes. I will.

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