I will fully admit that gardening is not something that I tend to do well. The green thumbs of our family are hoarded quite intently by my grandmother, whose gardens are always a thing of incomprehensible beauty, and my oldest sister, who always claims it takes more effort than necessary, but makes it look effortless. However, my slightly gray thumb, as it were, doesn’t keep me from trying. Last year, my garden produced the most glorious begonias I’ve ever experienced, and it was heavenly knowing that they were mine and they were growing and beautifying our front yard. Here’s the thing though, the amount of patience and tending and monitoring – it can be absolutely exhausting. The checking of tabs to see how much sunlight each one needs, and when to plant them, and how big the weeds are getting, and if something needs to be pruned, I’ll say it again…exhausting. Yet I know, I know, every time I wander around a greenhouse and see the never-ending aisles of beauty that I want that exhaustion and I want it to be worth it, and I want to yet again try, try to capture some of my grandma’s garden magic. Maybe some of you are going through the same thing, since it is that time of year. Maybe you are making lists and planning Home Depot trips and plotting and planning just how things will look this year. Maybe you are hoping for the right amount of rain and sun to make those flowers gorgeous or those vegetables abundant. Maybe all of us gardeners need to start a prayer chain… “please pray for my tomatoes…” Ok, I’m kidding, but we do put this amount of thought and planning and effort into our gardens, into making them beautiful and abundant. If only…if only we did this with our faith.
Sometimes I wonder if faith needs a “season.” I mean, I know that every day is a day to tend your faith, but think about it. How much more inclined are you to focus on something when it has a set time and place? Just like gardening! No one gardens in the ice cold of December, except possibly very dedicated gardeners, but once the April showers start to fall and the ground begins to swell with life, we’re ready to dedicate some time and attention to our gardens. So what if we made gardening season, faith season? So much of what goes into productive, successful gardening goes into faith. It takes examination of the ground you have, time to figure out what weeds need to be pulled in order to make room for real growth. You have to choose and decide what you need to plant, what will best nourish you and your spirit. You can’t just ignore it once it’s planted; it has to be watered, tended, nurtured. And then you can watch it grow, blossom, flower, and spread beauty. Sounds a lot like faith, doesn’t it? We each have those weeds in our hearts that need plucking, that need to be chucked in the compost pile. We each have those things that need planting, better prayer habits, better quiet meditation, better compassion, better service; we each have something that could nourish our faith. We each have those parts of our faith that need to be tended and loved and nurtured, so that they can grow and flourish into something beautiful.
As the calendar turns to May, and the weather warms, and gardens start to bloom, give some equal attention to your faith, to your hearts. Make your time in your garden faith time. Plant seeds of hope, while you plant seeds of beauty. Nourish your soul, while you raise up plants that will nourish your bodies. Spend some time in God’s beautiful creation and let it fill you with joy that it is yours to enjoy and to tend and care for. Garden for beauty, garden for your heart. Garden for nourishment, garden for hope. May your thumbs be green people of God, and may they be used for God’s good work.
Peace it Together,