The season is here, time for plowing and seeding. We wait until the temperatures and signs are compatible for the growing season. There is a lot of work to be done! Physical strains and muscles get used that have been dormant for most of the winter. Why do we even bother? we can always buy produce at the local farmers’ market or grocery store. It is surely much easier to purchase garden items than to grow our own.
We garden because we know that the end result will be the fruits (and vegetables) of our labor. We are sure of what has been placed on this food leaving out harsh chemicals that are used on store-bought items. Gardening is somewhat of a hobby for my farmer, but also one that will be passed onto our daughter. She will know how to raise her own food if she chooses.
The work begins with plowing, the smell of the tractor fumes fill the air and we know that although running the tractor is the easy part? Well, the rest? not so much. It takes time, lots of it. There will be seeds harvested from last years’ crop, new seeds purchased and then the planting can begin. It is a slow, and sometimes painstaking process, yet it is done because we know that there will be a harvest and hopefully a good one.
So I begin to ponder on the work, turning over the harsh soil, loosening the clumps of hardened dirt. The ground has been dormant for most of the winter. My thoughts also turn towards the places in my heart that have done the same. Dormant… still. I know there are things that need to be weeded in order for something better to grow.
I am reminded of Matthew 13.. “The Parable of the Sower” more specifically.. the parable of the “weeds” which goes as follows:
The Parable of the Weeds
24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”
How many times do we sow the good seeds, neglect them and while we are “sleeping” the weeds come in and take over? It ties up the harvest until it chokes the good out of everything you planted in the beginning.
Before we even realize it? when we look for the good plantings, we notice more and more weeds. Much like gathering our hurts, offenses and stones (words) that we carefully place in our wheelbarrows, dragging them around every single day. It gets heavy! Finally, you realize you need to just empty the heavy stuff and make your load a little lighter.
Thus, comes the hardest part of tending the garden. Pulling weeds, tossing out the things that are preventing a good crop. Choking back my thoughts? I pick up the gardening hoe.. at first the motions are easy, careful. When the plants are secure, I move to the wider spaces of just plain old weeds. I chop with more fierceness. These ugly weeds are ruining everything good. (my thoughts are in a tailspin) Enough! I begin to use the tool with a determination that surprises my own self. No, I tell myself…. and my thoughts, “you cannot stay here” To be quite honest? the thought actually came to me “why can’t we just burn up all of these weeds.. torch it?” just as I often do with my hurts… burn it to the ground and forget it. There is that nudge that just says, no – just do the work. you’ll see.
Some of the things that I uncovered were not ugly weeds, but good plantings that I had failed to see, ones that were being choked out…buried deep. The good roots remained once I cleared the tangled webs of grass. When the roots are established with the good? I know that there is always hope to uncover that good. It just takes a lot of toil and tears.
In reading the Parable of the Sower? I realize that there will be things that come along that are way beyond my control. Too much rain, not enough rain… storms. Yet, I know that I have done the work, prepared the garden for a good harvest. I will continue to make adjustments, take precaution with the new plantings. My final assignment of the evening was to “stake the tomato plants” (trust me, I do not do the majority of the gardening – my farmer toils harder than I ever do)
Tying each one to the stake prevents them from falling over from the heaviness of the stalk, tossed from harsh winds. I couldn’t help but think about the process of binding up my heart with tools I already have…Faith, Hope… Love. It’s all I know to do. When the storms come? I’m sure there will be damage, but hoping it will be less because of the preparation, there will still be good left to harvest.
So I wait… patiently. Every new sunrise gives a new day..another chance to work the Garden of My Heart. There is still so much to do. It is sometimes exhausting but I know that the end result will be something more than the evidence of a barren plowed field.
If by chance you are afforded to do your own garden? Tend it with care and adjust with the seasons. Learn while you can and accept the Grace that is given to you each day.
Lastly, I offered a particular passage to my daughter this week.. who knew that I was preaching to myself. I will continue to work on the good things, weeding out the bad – and with any luck at all? this garden will learn to produce more harvest than weeds.
Philippians 4:8The Message (MSG)
8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.