Life lessons I learned in the garden
Last summer my husband and I decided to take on the task of planting and tending a large garden. We expected to do some work and enjoy some fresh produce and pretty flowers. What I couldn’t have guessed at are all of the life lessons I would find myself pondering in my backyard with my bare toes in the warm earth.
The right environment is critical to success.
Spinach thrived in the shade. Corn needed full sun. The tomatoes liked the rich, dark, damp soil on the south side of our house. The pumpkins did better in the sandy slope near the driveway.
The same is true of people. Some of us blossom in front of a crowd. Some of us long for solitude. People may love to push their bodies to the limit. Others challenge their minds in as many ways as possible. There are those who long for big families, small families, excitement, peace, structure, freedom…
Trying to force someone to exist in an environment or lifestyle that is ill-suited to their unique personality will hinder them from reaching their fullest potential.
Some things just can’t be rushed. They are worth the wait.
In the garden, nothing happens immediately. You plant and then you wait. You see the first sprouts and then you wait… and you wait… and you wait a little longer. Finally, that first fruit starts to ripen. Suddenly, it seems you are overwhelmed with more fresh, delicious produce than you can possibly eat. You can it and freeze it and share it with your neighbors and, still, there is some left over.
Life is often just like that; ask any star who had “over night success” or any inventor who was “suddenly” made rich by the sale of their creation. Years, sometimes decades, of effort were put forth with little or no visible reward. But, just like there is nothing sweeter or more satisfying than those perfectly ripened sun-warmed, garden-fresh tomatoes, so the satisfaction of the wild success that follows a great deal of effort is indescribably delicious.
Bad things can’t be avoided but proper preparation and a good response can minimize the damage.
Wise gardeners catch rain when it falls in abundance and use it in times of draught. They plant flowers that deter pests near veggies that are especially appealing to them. They leave just enough wild growth to encourage bees and butterflies to visit the garden and do their important work, but they work to keep that growth tidy and controlled. Occasionally, you hear of someone losing an entire crop. Even then, gardeners know that next year will bring another opportunity.
Life happens. There are seasons of prosperity and times of lack. We may think that everything is fine and find ourselves suddenly struck by terrible illness or loss. Every now and then it really is just more than we can handle and it’s perfectly OK in those times to ask for help! Hold on, knowing that a new season is always on the way. In the meantime, using wisdom and discernment with the resources you have in any given circumstance will help keep things on a slightly more even keel.
Not every seed generates the same yield but they are all worth planting.
A gardener has no way of knowing which seeds will flourish. We can choose quality seeds and nourish them carefully but, still, there are never any guarantees.
As we move through our lives we are constantly sowing seeds. Every word and every action is a seed of kindness or love or passion or hatred or greed or envy. As we drop them, consciously or unwittingly, we have no way of guaranteeing which seeds will grow and produce rich fruit.
However, one thing is certain: Just as no gardener ever grew corn from a seed-potato or cucumbers from tulip bulbs, so we can be certain that we will never grow good, healthy relationships and help shape our world into a better place unless we are sowing the seeds that match that fruit.
Sow your seeds wisely, tend them well, wait patiently. Most of all, enjoy the process and the good things it yields.
Elizabeth Comiskey has a true passion to care for the planet, promote world peace and raise her children to be productive citizens. She’s also a normal working mom – exhausted and constantly pressed for time – so she seeks out the most efficient possible ways to do these things. Her blog, Lazy Hippie Mama, was born of her certainty that she couldn’t possibly be the only one who cares a great deal about improving the world around her and connecting with others in meaningful, inspiring ways but lacking in time and energy. Visit her blog, Lazy Hippie Mama or join her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Elizabeth is also a Sverve Influencer – connect with her here.