One of my neighbors has a neat and tidy row garden. Another has a well planned and abundant secret garden of plants and pathways. My garden… well.. I think it started out as companion gardening, planting helpful and supportive plants together. Now, it’s basically a “Let’s toss some seeds and see if it grows there” type of garden.
After an eventful year, where garden tending was my least priority, my garden has taken on a life of itself. My tomato plants reseeded themselves in places, my herbs are growing untamed, and the three tomato and pepper plants I added are abundant.
There are spots that need to be pruned back, weeds that need to be pulled and some plants that really should stay in their designated area!
This morning, I had to craw over a bush to pick tomatoes. If I don’t trim back the bush, soon there will be fruit growing beyond my reach.
As abundant as my garden is now, I’m reminded that it’s not my green thumb keeping it going. God’s providence is displayed in nature’s bounty.
“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. – Jesus, as recorded in Matthew 6:25-34
I can tend my garden: prune limbs, water, add nutrients to the soil, deter pests, strategically group plants, scatter seeds. But in the end, I’m not in control. The vines grow where they wish, dying plants will leave seeds that sprout, and the Texas weather will do as it pleases.
In the same way I’m not in control of my garden, I’m not in total control of my life. And that’s a hard notion to swallow.
I like having my life in order, plans made, schedules and such. This helps me feel in control. I feel like I should be a row gardener.
In the quiet of my morning walk through my garden, I realized how much trying to control certain areas in my life has been making me crazy and resentful. I’ve become envious of my neighbor’s “row gardening” lives. I’ve been striving for things, while good, are beyond my current reach. I do have places I need to tend to, places where I need to pull weeds and prune the back the overgrowth, but I need to loosen my grip in a few areas of my life.
I love my messy, overgrown, “companion” garden. And if I’m honest, I love my messy, “never in a row” life. Even the thorny parts. It’s just hard sometimes.
And really, if I had it all together, I wouldn’t be outside in my garden in my PJs. I wouldn’t be lifting a tiny “Darth Vader”, who is wearing mix matched PJ’s that are two sizes too small, into an overgrown tomato garden. And this morning, I see this picture in all it’s “not in a row” glory.
Abundance in a tangled mess
Beauty in the imperfections
Joy in the unexpected
Hope among the thorns
Peace in the quiet moments
So I ask, how does your garden grow?
(I wrote this a month ago and I’m just now getting around to publishing it. Please note that with August approaching every plant is near death. Even my neighbor’s gardens. And, I have had my fill of tomatoes this season! My metaphorical garden, however, is still thriving as both messy and beautiful. )