This spring, I planted a vegetable gardenette. I can’t call it a full-fledged garden because that would certainly be insulting to the real and true gardeners out there, but I did put a few seeds in the dirt and I am happily watching them push through. I am sowing in expectation of reaping zucchini and spinach and beans and corn and maybe even a pumpkin or two. I have had a perennial flower garden for many years, and I think the same basic principle applies to both. The most important work is done long before the harvest.
Initially, you must select the site for the garden. Too much heat or shade or crowding will surely cause the soil to be too dry or too wet or too shallow to grow anything but the hardiest flora. Soil preparation then is key – pH and moisture content and organic matter and calcium – all of these must be addressed even before the vine is sown. Correct planting depth of the seed must be achieved. And finally, water and fertilizer and sunlight. Oh, and weeding and pruning and dealing with disease and pest. It’s labor-intensive and exhausting. And still all of this effort and love and persistence and sweat can be crushed by hail or flood or drought or shearing wind (or a child with a soccer ball). There are so many variables at play here it is impossible to control for all of them.
But we do it anyway. The hope and reward of plucking the fruit from the vine, or cutting the blooms to enjoy in a vase; of tasting and smelling the resulting abundance makes it worth the struggle. Which brings me to the heart of this post.
Parenting is really hard. This is not new information for me or for anyone else who is raising one or more children. My sons are long past the baby stage, and still the demands are ever-present.
[Gentle] reminders to BATHE
Hugs and tears
Letting them down
Helping them up
Teaching work ethic
Being the example and messing it up
Apologizing and asking forgiveness
A little more food
There are definitely days when by the end of dinner, my dear husband and I are barely keeping it together. After the seven hundredth reminder to clear dishes, or lean over, or finish your food (which is weird because unless it’s dinner time, they are ALWAYS HUNGRY), we just feel so tired of the unending effort required to raise boys who are prepared to be crumbless contributors to society! We are the Constant Gardener!
But, just like with a flower, we do it anyway. And I think God does it with us too. Planting us where it might not be comfortable but where we will grow, fertilizing us with encouragement, pruning us (man, this one hurts but it’s ultimately going to make us more beautiful and useful), and at the end, reaping the harvest of a soul likened to His Son.
So we get our hands dirty and do the work, because we know He will complete it.