Friday, June 26, 2009

Lessons from my garden: Focus

A couple of years ago I did a series called Lessons From My Garden. Somehow I am constantly seeing life lessons as I tackle the challenges and bask in the joy of gardening. It is one of the most humbling of passions, as there are so many things which all of the watering, nurturing, weeding and mulching in the world cannot control.

A few weeks ago when I posted these photos of my flowers, I have to admit that I giggled at the kind comments. What I knew is that my garden looked like this:

Lots of green, healthy plants, but practically nothing blooming. That Jacob's Ladder in the middle was going like gangbusters, however, so it made a nice photo. And some of my containers had a few things going. I chose to focus on the color, rather than the lack of it. Indeed, my irises never bloomed this year. Two varieties of them that have always bloomed in years past. Nothing!

Well, almost nothing. This ONE flower bloomed.
On June 10th. AMAZING that it picked that day!
It deserved to have its picture taken.

Do you see what kind of help I'm getting? This guy is lounging, GRAZING in my garden. I have several impatiens plants along the front of the garden that are completely healthy and full of buds. Each day he and his buddies come and clean up those new little nasty flowers for me. Isn't that special? I have a couple of great bunny chasers, and when absolutely necessary I even dash out there in my bathrobe, but they are not to be deterred.

Here is one of my containers. Do you see that daisy at 12:00? The zinnea at 1:00? Covered with buds. But are they blooming? Nooooo. Are there rabbits on my deck too??? I don't think so. It looks like there is some hope for the showstars. And finally the gazania came up with a flower for me today.

But hang on...

That's quite a flower!

It was worth the wait!

" content with what you have,
because God has said,
'Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.'"
Hebrews 13:5

So where's your focus? Is it on what you don't have, or on what you do have?

I have to ask myself that question frequently. It's easy to look at my kids and answer that question for them. It's harder to be honest with myself about the truth of the matter. I try to think about how I would fill in this blank: I'll be happy when ____________. If I can easily fill in the blank, I know my focus is in trouble. "I'll be happy when my flowers bloom." Well, what if they don't? My irises didn't. Why would the others be any different? What I'm really saying is, "I'm leaving it up to my flowers to determine whether I will be happy or not. I am choosing to be unhappy if they don't bloom."

Now obviously I'm not going to choose to be unhappy if my garden doesn't bloom. I will be pleased if it does. But I love flowers, and I can find some flowers blooming around here to enjoy, even if some of my favorites don't.

What if your blank includes the name of a person? "I'll be happy when my kids stop bickering." There's trouble. Is it really my kids' responsibility to make me happy? No. And do I really want to choose not to be happy unless they stop? Who loses then? I do. We all do.

So there's what I was thinking about as I weeded, fertilized, mulched and sprayed for bugs in my garden today. Because those are the things I CAN control. I pray it helps me stay focused on being content with what I have. AND on the God who will NEVER leave or forsake me.


Hot Tub Lizzy said...

Do you know how much you are God's personal messenger to me? How you are saying EXACTLY what I need to hear. Bless you.

Melissa Mae said...

I too am aprreciative of this post. Thanks Tracy. BTW, you can buy rabbit repellant (i.e., fox urine) to scare them off. I also heard you can scatter newly cut hair around the garden too. I don't know about that one though, it sounds kinda bogus....

Melissa B. said...

Ya know, I'm happy for what ends up blooming in my garden. One year I went out to visit my sister in SFO. She had the most unusual blooming plant in her garden, so I took some back with me and planted it. That sucker spread all over, and produced the neatest tiny flowers. Lil Sis came to visit me a year later, and asked me why I hadn't pulled up the weeds yet. Yikes!

Betty said...

What a great lesson! And such a beautiful flower! Thanks for "speaking" to my heart today!

StitchinByTheLake said...

Tracy a former associate pastor at my church did short videos titles "lessons from my garden." He always had a huge, beautiful vegetable garden and often used garden items in his children's sermons. He showed the videos at our Connection service which is our praise worship and they were a big hit. You should try that! blessings, marlene

Mama Kat said...

Love this!

Marrdy said...

I really needed to read this. Lately I have been swallowed up in self pity. Sometimes things just don't go the way they should in life and the teenagers do things that are unbelievable! Thanks for reminding me that no matter what, someone loves me and will never leave me!

Joy said...

That is one big fat bunny rabbit. How nice of you to provide these colorful gourmet meals for him/her.
For it to sit there and pose for you is just cracking me up.

Good thoughts to go along with your pretty flower pictures. We are all blessed way more than we know. Keeping that focus in line is key. I'm going to go back and read your others. I'm still in FL right now. Will return to TX on Thursday.


sarah m said...

Great thoughts! It really spoke to me...thanks for sharing. :)

Aunt Tea said...

that IS quite a flower! i shall consider that for my garden next year. Ü

Brandi said...

That pink flower really is pretty!

stefanie said...

mmm hmm. thanks.