Yes, that's right. They don't go anywhere; the tough people garden.
Today is supposed to be a scorcher here in DC. An absolutely unbearable 90 degrees. At 8 this morning, the temperature was nowhere near 90 degrees. In fact, it was a gorgeous summer morning. Perfect really, maybe just a little on the muggy side. After a short walk to the mailbox, I got an itching to go into the back yard and play in the garden. My discovery was a terrible one. Our garden is very green. The problem is, the green things were weeds.
So, I donned gardening gloves and grabbed a rake and shovel and went to work. In the quiet of the morning, tearing away at thistles and grass, I had an interesting time of reflection on life. I thought of growing up with a farming grandfather. How blessed. He taught me the meaning of hard work. He taught me all I know about seeds, soil and harvest. Every year, I helped plant, prune, thin, debug, and eventually harvest. It made for some interesting childhood experiences, including a garden rake to the skull courtesy of my younger brother. (It was an accident).
To this day, grampa still keeps a garden in his yard. I visited it last week while I was in Ohio. I walked through the rows of corn, searched the kiwi bush for any fruit, picked some blackberries and some blueberries, looked over the cabbage and the broccoli, trudged through the squash hills and the tomato patch. Fond memories there. So much I learned, so much I am grateful for.
Today, though, as I tore up weeds and cleared out the debris from a summer harvest, I learned some more life lessons.
1) Weeds grow anywhere. It doesn't matter if your plants can't grow there, the weeds sure will. Our soil is rocky and full of clay, not exactly conducive to vegetables, but the weeds love it. I pulled one today that had a rock entangled in its roots.
In our lives, weeds work the same way, don't they? It doesn't matter if we can't function in an environment, weeds always seem to be able to withstand it. In fact, at times, they even embrace and thrive in an environment where we struggle to hang on.
2) Keep changing. This is good on so many levels. If you dig at the soil, first off, you introduce oxygen, which is good for plants. Second, if you harvest something, plant something different there. Grampa taught me that. If you plant corn in one part, corn won't grow as well there again. Farmers in Ohio will rotate their crop. One year, there is corn, the next soy, the next snap peas and then they go back to corn again.
We have to keep changing. Sometimes, that can be frustrating, but to everything there is a season. Our spiritual lives can go dry if our worship is always the same. If we read 5 Psalms everyday for a year, that's fine. But the next year, we will 'get less out of it.' Our spiritual growth will start to plateau. We will still grow, but we won't be as fruitful as if we had changed things up.
The same applies to our ministry. Things change. Weather changes. Climate changes. Our world changes. The things that worked 15 years ago, are going to be less effective now. It's time to switch it up.
3) You may not be able to change the location, but you can change the soil. As I said, our garden is in our back yard. The soil is full of rocks. Last year, when we first turned up the soil, it was solid red clay. Plants don't grow in red clay. But we really have no other option, we have certain spots for our garden. That's it. So, we bought a bag of Miracle Grow potting soil and worked it into the soil. Now, it can sustain vegetation (other than weeds).
We may be stuck in a place, by contract or by whatever else. If our location can't change, we need to change the soil. We need to work to effect change so that, even if we end up moving, something can still grow there. If you aren't growing there, chances are not many others are.
4) Adversity is good. No one likes 90 degree weather plus humidity. Except plants. Plants thrive in adversity. They need warmth, sun and water. Things we don't really care for. That thunderstorm may throw off your ball game, but the squash plant is elated. The blazing sun may make you melt, but the bean plant seed is perfectly cozy.
Or how bout them bugs? Who honestly likes worms? Or bees? No one I know of. We don't make pets of these things, but they are a plant's best friends. Worms are naturals for putting oxygen into soil. Bees pollenate the blossoms.
Situations in your life may not be comfortable. Embrace them. God brings trials for our good. He brings them to help us grow. He wants us to bring forth fruit. He wants us to be productive.
Next time the going gets tough, get gardening.