Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Gardening as a Metaphor for Life

Lovely White Azaleas

"The only success is faithfulness" ~ Mother Teresa

Gardening is one of the great joys of my new life in Virginia. I want to be outside today, up to my elbows in dirt and worms, digging and weeding, but it suddenly turned too cold and I am a wimp. With my fingers crossed for tomorrow, I am planning new plantings. This year so far I am growing my favorite vegetables-tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash, salsa peppers, asparagus;  and my favorite herbs--basil, cilantro, chives, lavender; and strawberries, apples, peaches, hybrid roses and assorted bulb flowers. The cilantro I planted last summer is finally full and bountiful and I am going to make some dressing out of a bunch of it today. My husband cut a bouquet of  Double Delight roses, yesterday, the first of the season, all mottled pink and white like a tye-dye petticoat. My gorgeous tulips are shriveled and gone for this year, but we just planted 20 big white azaleas, all along the edges of our "Chapel of the Pines" in the forest. Perhaps some bright Spring day, one of my grandchildren will be married in that beautiful tree alley, surrounded by the soothing sound of leaves hushing in tall trees and clouds of huge white azaleas lining the path. But that potential romantic outcome requires me to plan ahead and plant now. 

It is interesting to note how much of our garden labor is for future enjoyment. Everything we sow in Spring, awaits the Summer or Fall, or even the next Spring, to be richly enjoyed. In the case of asparagus, it's a three year wait to get a small harvest. Our newly planted azaleas are in season now, but they won't really be show-y till next April, and they won't reach their true height or glory for several years. The same with my new crape myrtle tree. I love the full-grown ones, but mine won't  look sensational, with colorful bark and radiant white flowers for several years to come. Gardening requires the utmost patience and a long look to the future. 

My life is like that too. Building a marriage with Joe, raising responsible, loving children ( and grandchildren), building my faith--all require relentless, sometimes laborious, sowing and cultivating, all in the hopes that there will be a bountiful harvest in the future. It is even more true with our Joey in Heaven,  now far away, for whose sake I am forsaking all the temporary lures of this life to fully trust Jesus. I am planting my seeds in the world to come. Patience, perseverance, endurance, long-suffering...these are my words now.  They are urging me to plan for a Springtime unforeseen and unimagined, beauty for ashes in a Garden unsurpassed. 

Galatians 6:9

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.


Katie Stroud said...

I think tomorrow is supposed to be warm & sunny, hopefully. This is my first year really "gardening". I have tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, herbs, roses, and lots of other flowers I'm tending to this year. Its so therapeutic to garden, I'm really loving it. Good luck with all your planting!

Anonymous said...

You will need to start a farmers market dear friend. I am jealous and just waiting to be able to do things here in our beautiful yard. Bushes need to be pulled out and new things planted. I will never be like you...... gosh I am thinking small unless I get a sunroom then it will be watch out. Love you Sharon

Gberger said...

This is a beautiful sermon, Karen. Though I am not a devoted gardener, my father is, and I can see what you are saying from his enjoyment of it.

Robin said...

There's a gift for you over on my blog.

Robin said...

The present is at Metanoia!