My Ugly Garden : Part One

Now, I don’t know about you, but when it comes to gardening I love the idea of things being in sections, organized rows, everything nice and tidy. You know, routines for picking weeds, watering in the afternoons, etc…

But that’s not how real gardening works when you’ve got four kids you’re trying to teach how to garden. Friends, my garden is pitiful. It’s hideous. Some weeds are taller than most of the plants. We have three stalks of corn jutting out in the middle of everything. Five tomato plants in the shape of an L sprinkled with carrots (which would be cool if they were in Lizzy’s garden –motif and all– but they’re not…).

Then, I walk by all these beautiful gardens in Romania.

Picturesque tomato gardens; perfectly manicured rows; onion sprouts as tall as your knee…

This week, I read about the Growing Seed (Mark 4:26-29) and I took in some perspective.

You see, most of the people here use transplants (seedlings previously grown to a certain stage they can easily plant later, not from a seed). This helps ensure the plants are pristine and in nice little rows, but it also gives them a sense of security to know their investment is going to be productive. After all, they’ve already survived arguably the toughest part in the process –making it from a seedling. In a way, it’s as “risk-free” gardening as a gardener can get. Another detail I’ve noticed is that most of the other gardeners are in their mid-fifties or sixties. Not only have they forgotten more about gardening than I know to date, but they also have a bit more time to invest in the details of it all. I’m not using that as an excuse, but as a purposeful reminder not to compare myself, or my garden, with others.

My family started our garden from seeds, not transplants. Some of those seeds were dug up, while others were washed out by rains (hence the carrot and tomato party in Adam’s garden). Some were dug and scattered by the neighborhood cats who love to leave us good gifts because we don’t have a dog. Birds may have swooped down and plucked a few out. Maybe, just maybe, we bought a packet or two of bad seeds and got some weeds?

Maybe this is your Christian life? It doesn’t look like everyone else’s. It isn’t in a nicely manicured row. Do you need to be diligent in keeping the weeds out, watering it, nurturing it, and making sure it is productive? Yes. One thing I do know: we have some wonky corn, a patch or two of carrots, one perfect row of garlic –that doesn’t seem to be growing well…ah, the irony– and an L-shaped section of tomatoes. It’s ugly, but it’s growing. It’s ugly, but my kiddos get out and pick the weeds. It’s ugly, but they understand the necessity of doing important things even when the circumstances may not look the same as everyone else’s. At the end of the day, we’re thankful the house we’re renting from our Landlord has a garden.

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