Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lessons From The Garden

That night I was happy. The garden looked refreshed. I had cut away the old stems of the alpine strawberry leaves and trimmed the crusty fronds from the maidenhair fern to make way for the new.

I was puzzled too. Is this what we must do to make room for new growth? Remove old thoughts, habits, even possessions to make room for the new, for what God wants to bring into our lives? If that's so, how do I know what is dead, what doesn't bring life?

Surveying the pile of garden rubbish I had created, I thought, it's easy to recognize dead in a plant. A branch will break easily with a dry powdery snap. The fern frond was black against the pale green. How do I recognize what is dead in my life? What in my life, in my mind, in my practice is dry and brittle, crackly, not supporting life? Where can I make space?

Even then, you're not done. Once created, preparing the soil to receive is the next step. For my back yard, that means turning the hard soil and watering 3 to 4 times over a few days with a soaker hose. The bright heads of butter lettuce marching brightly in a row were a testament to this practice.

Looking inward was a bit harder to observe. In my everyday living, what do I practice that creates the same friability in my soul? The same softness? Prayer, spending time in meditation, reading the word of God, serving others with my gifts keep me supple, when practiced. Just like working out, I lose tone if I miss. And there are times when I am hard as a rock.

My refreshed garden made me happy.  I could only imagine what a refreshed soul must do.  Since I couldn't figure it all out, certainly not in one day, I closed the sliding glass door for the night and asked God to show me what is dead, what doesn't bear fruit in my life, so that there is room for the new.

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