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!
"...be content with what you have,
because God has said,
'Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.'"
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.