... so you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
In the dead of winter, I need hope. I need to believe in what I can't see in the dormant ground beneath my feet. Flipping through garden catalogs, I dream about the new growth of spring. I envision daffodils and daisies sprouting in my someday-soon flowerbeds.
But gardening is more than daydreaming. To stand knee-deep in flowers, there's lots to do between now and then. We know if we give weeds an inch they will take a yard; so, we pull here and mulch there. We sharpen rusty tools and prune old tree wood. In the meantime, shoes get muddy, muscles ache and fingernails break.
It doesn't take long to discover that life is like gardening-always less than we expect and much more than we expect. The label on the fertilizer box promises if we scatter right and water deep, our tender vegetation will grow. It never mentions golf ball size hail or hungry rabbits and nosy deer.
Sometimes our unrealistic and unrealized expectations get in the way of reality. I am learning that my love for roses doesn't lessen their thorns any more than insecticides keeps pests away. Maybe you were taught like I was to expect that if you are fair in your dealings, you will be fairly treated. If you eat a balanced diet, work hard, and keep your vows, you'll be healthy, wealthy and happy. If you believe hard enough and pray long enough, your faith will keep you safe from loss. You never expect leukemia might strike; or that the company will downsize and you'll lose your job. And you certainly don't expect that divorce could happen to you.
Overnight, the unexpected can wipe out years of dreams like the rabbit wipes out rows of lettuce. When your vision blurs with "what might have been," it is not easy to hope in a future you can't see. It takes raw courage to believe something beautiful will sprout again in a chewed-up flowerbed and a loss-ravaged heart. What is empty looks more like "My efforts were not enough" rather than sacred space for something new to grow.
I think we all struggle accepting that life is what it is. Things happen that are not fair. Or safe. We cannot always expect love in return. Yet whatever happens, God continually calls us to head toward life.
In the dead winter of our soul, we need hope. We need to believe in an eternal future we can't see. But between now and heaven, there's lots to do. Tending our soul. Deepening our relationship with the One who created us.
As we cultivate what is sacred, we start living with a sense of eternity instead of a sense of entitlement. Instead of focusing on the wasteland beneath our feet, we look up. We catch a tiny glimpse of the spiritual lushness God is creating in our soul. Along the way, we begin to notice faith and peace sprouting in our lives again. When we live with the end in mind, we come back to what matters.
If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done... Be sure to stay busy and plant a variety of crops, for you never know which will grow--perhaps they all will.
So, what really matters? What needs tending in your soul? Click a topic for hope and inspiration for this day.
Thought-provoking or inspirational contributions are welcome--including poems, quotations, verses, and stories.
It is apparent that no lifetime is long enough in which to explore the resources of a few yards of ground.