My church started a community garden project this past spring. For the Houston area it was a wee bit late to be planting, but after getting my little plot put together, I planted anyway…from seed in most cases. A couple bargain tomato and pepper plants were found so I planted those, too.
Gardens take a lot of faith, a lot of perseverance, and a lot of tender loving care. After putting seeds in the ground, one must believe that those seeds are actually going to sprout…and sometimes the waiting for those little sprouts seems like an eternity. When the sprouts poke through the soil, it’s one of those every day miracles we sometimes miss.
Perseverance and tender loving care go hand in hand when caring for a garden. We had an inordinate amount of rain in the Houston area this past spring and now we have one dry hot day following another, usually triple digits on the thermometer. As the soil began drying out a bit after the rains, it was necessary to add some compost and pull weeds (and strange fungi!), plus try to fend off the fire ants and other pests with diatomaceous earth. And then, I needed to begin making an almost daily trek to the garden to provide water. I fussed over my tomatoes and beans and okra and talked to the honey dew, watermelon, and cucumber plants. I pruned the basil. I picked what needed to be picked and waited patiently for another day to pick other vegetables and fruits. Even with all my care, the beans and the peas didn’t make it. The tomatoes and peppers have not produced significantly. I see plenty of blooms on the honey dew, cucumber, and watermelon plants but there seems to be no fruit…yet. The okra has bugs of some sort…okra doesn’t get bugs…what gives? In spite of failures, unexpected weather, and pests, I keep tending to my garden.
This may seem like a very common platitude, but it rings true: Every relationship is a garden. You have to believe that if you plant the seeds and tend them that everything will grow and bear fruit. But there are storms in relationships…and there are droughts…and sometimes the pests come and try to ruin the relationship. The relationships that survive, though, are the ones that persist in spite of all of the elements that try to destroy. Relationships require faith…faith that what doesn’t look like it’s producing is really just germinating, that today’s downpours will give way to calmer weather, that if tended with care, something good will come. Relationships require persistence (perseverance) in tending to something that doesn’t look like it will survive. Relationships require tender loving care…the soft touch. We have to keep tending to the garden…
Sometimes in today’s cultural environment, we see relationships as expendable. If the relationship doesn’t bear fruit (i.e., meet our expectations) within our predetermined time frame, it’s relegated to the compost bin. As a result, marriages are failing, families are falling apart, and the promise that could have been does not survive.
And yet…even in compost bins, seeds begin to sprout…
Treat your relationships with care. Look at them as a long term investment in the garden of life. Have faith! Persist! Tend with Love! And watch for the fruit that will come…it will…and you will be glad for it!
What’s your garden like today?