Thursday, February 18, 2010

In the Garden

I am daydreaming about gardens lately.

Having just moved to Oklahoma where there is actually a real winter, after living in Florida for most of my life, I am prancing around in utter excitement for the anticipation of a real live spring! Winter has been nice, but spring oh spring, I can hardly wait for all the green...

I have been planning my spring garden the last few weeks. Well, I may as well be honest; I've been planning my spring garden since pretty much the second I ripped my old one out in Florida in September of last year. I can't help it - I love gardening! There is something so profound, so spiritual and enlightening, so philosophical and energizing about being a part of the process of Creation. I love the act of planting a seed in the soil with the knowledge that it must die there a quarter of an inch under the dirt's surface, in the dark, and only centimeters away from it's rebirth. I love the sight of tiny seedlings unfurling themselves slowly and sleepily from the ground and reaching their tiny tips toward the sun. I am picturing myself running my fingers over the tops of the tips of these baby plants, something I always do when they have sprouted - it feels as though I'm running my fingers through my garden's fuzzy baby scalp.

I love the process of growth, which involves thinning plants that are weak, cultivating the stems and branches that seem to be most productive and healthy, and pruning those that aren't. It is a wonderful and humbling partnership of working alongside the ancient magic that was so artistically instilled in Creation. During the spring and summer months I absolutely cannot stay away from my garden and will usually lure any kind of guest we may have outside to show them my adorable little jalapenos or my cheerful morning glories. If you know me well at all, you have most likely been the victim of my enthusiasm and a flashlight for a late night garden tour. Call me sappy, sentimental, overly in tune with my green thumb, but I won't care. I am completely in love with growing things and I do believe there is no known cure.

So of course, it only follows suit that right now the air hockey table has been overcome with seedling flats. It's also only natural that I'm quite protective of my baby lettuces and tiny tomato plants, so I am often checking on them to make sure their soil is moist, they are getting enough light through the window and standing tall in their little dirt-filled cubes.

In thinking all of these gardening thoughts, my contemplation naturally turns itself to more internal channels of growth. I am also taking stock of my soul in these pre-spring weeks. It seems there are things growing in there too, some good and in need of a little more cultivation, and others might need to be taken down a notch or two with some pruning shears. I've noticed lately that I'm a pretty impatient person. I don't know if I ever would have realized how impatient I am had I not started homeschooling Carson. Homeschooling is such a huge sacrifice for most people who do it that I think it probably brings most faults to the surface pretty quick. I've been trying to chill out a bit, let her really learn something and enjoy it before moving on at lightning speed like I normally would. It's been really good and I can tell she feels better understood and loved.

What about you? In the coming weeks, as winter hands the baton to her teammate spring, who seems to be more of a people person, are you analyzing the internal compartments of your life? I challenge you to do so. Lift the lid on dusty boxes in your heart and take stock. Find good reason, in the season of winter, to plan enthusiastically for all the green that is to come. Let the seasons of your life align themselves peacefully in an order that is beautifully set up by your Creator. Become a gardener in the farthest recesses of your ambitions, stroking into full bloom those most lovely aspirations and severing quickly the habits and weeds that will only hold you captive. A scripture came to mind as I wrote that last sentence: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." (Hebrews 12:1)
My garden in the winter is a desperate sight to behold. There is no indication that anything green would ever want to live there. But beyond what can be seen, there are tiny root systems working their way throgh the nutritious loam, that will one day break free of the dark and grow increasingly toward light and productivity. May we work consistently to do the same, ever stretching our roots down deeper into the foundation of a Creator who loves us and made us with a smile on His face, and only stretching up from the dark and into the piercing, life-giving, warm Light.