I’ve decided I am indeed blessed to have a farm heritage. My maternal grandparents were, for the most part, subsistence farmers, raising the food they needed for themselves and their livestock year by year. My paternal grandparents were commercial farmers, growing crops to sell and maintaining a herd of dairy cows for the milk.
We always had a garden. In fact I think nearly every member of the extended family had some sort of garden. Gardening provides food, yes. But it is valuable on so many other levels.
Preparing the Soil: Hard Work
Of course if you’re going to plant a garden you need to prepare the garden bed. It may involve clearing the area of unwanted weeds or grass, getting rid of rocks or debris, and breaking up the ground with a tiller. It’s hard work.
But isn’t that true in other areas of life? We have to prepare the way for relationships. We even use the language of gardening: friendship grow, love blooms.
And how about in business? We talk of those ground breaking moments and getting over the stumbling blocks in our way. I see it in writing. I work hard preparing to write a story before I ever pick up the pen.
Preparing the soil isn’t a glamorous part of anything we do. It’s hard work. And I’d venture to say that often where relationships never take root and businesses or ideas fade quickly, they were likely built on rocky ground.
Planting the Seeds: Faith and Patience
|Still Growing Tomatoes|
Not all seeds will germinate and produce food. Not all of my ideas take root either. But we keep trying. I remember a pastor talking about faith one time. He described how a farmer plants seeds and trusts the seed will produce fruit to harvest. But it takes patience. That time of waiting and trust he used as an image for faith.
Weeding: More Hard Work
Weeds will grow in a garden. It’s a given. They’ll try to take over. And they willtake over unless you are ever diligent. I’ve seen it happen in relationships where unhealthy elements come in and come between people. I’ve seen it in business, where greed overpowers the mission of the company.
I’ve seen it in writing as well. Sometimes it is merely a lack of editing making the story impossible to read. Other times it is a subplot that overshadows the intended story. The story becomes so convoluted, no one can follow it.
I could take this notion of farming even further, but you get the idea. Everything worth having in life requires faith, patience and hard work. Everything starts with a tiny seed of hope.
I often meet people who say they really want to be authors. They have some great ideas. They simply don’t want to get their hands dirty. They don’t want to have to plant, water, and wait. They want an instant best seller.
But me? I guess I’m a farmer at heart. I’m happy with the seeds God has given me and the simple crops I can share with others. I’ve learned that preparing the soil, planting the seeds, and weeding the rows between them is rewarding in and of itself. But all it produces is somehow sweeter and better than anything I can find elsewhere.
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