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Thankful For a Bountiful Harvest
Just a short 300 some days ago I reflected on a gardening season of woe… an extended bout of winter’s wrath followed by a cold wet summer. All those plans, all that preparation, the anticipation of a fine gardening season foiled by weather that couldn’t have been more devastating to an avid gardener. How could it possibly get any worse?
If you had asked me early this spring I would have painted you a completely different picture. In March I felt confident as though I was living the image of a perfect spring. Abundant sunshine followed a non-existent winter. Above average warmth and lack of rain had all gardeners happily enjoying the outdoors… we earned this spring, we were getting what we deserved… what we earned!
Unfortunately, we got a lot more than we deserved. We were snapped back to reality by late frosts that killed many plants and flowers awakened by the early season warmth. We later learned what we thought was great spring weather turned into an extended period of heat and drought beginning in April and not ending before mid-August. By then, for many crops, it was too late. Many plants failed, most all plants were stressed… many gardeners gave up, most all were stressed! So here I am, reflecting once again, on our past gardening season with a feeling of despair for yet another lost opportunity… another planting season down the drain. Veggies were parched, flowers bleached, shrubs baked and trees fried. What plants didn’t get scorched were eaten by deer whose natural food sources met a fate worse than my cultivated gardens.
Why do I do this to myself?$%^&@!)&^*%$>?$%$%
Why do I do this to myself?
I do this because… because it is what I do. It’s what I need to do! I need to make things grow. I need to feel the soil in my hands, the sun on my face and the wind in my hair. (Ok, on my head!) I am energized by the sun, the outdoors and being surrounded by God’s gifts… I am at home, I am content.
Isn’t this a bit like our day to day lives? We are so focused on what we need to do, where we need to be and when we need to be there that we too often don’t see what’s right in front of our faces. Working longer and harder for more stuff becomes our culture… time with friends, family and God becomes… well, it becomes less.
Look around. (I promise you won’t have to look far) Look for signs of how lucky, how fortunate, how wealthy you are. And I don’t mean a collection of material goods I mean wealth in the truest sense of the word. Look for the things your gather that can’t be bought with something as irrelevant as money. Look for beauty, look for love and look for abundance. Now look deeper. Look for opportunities. Look for opportunities to build that wealth by helping others who have less. Look for those who might need a bit of help, a kind word or just a little of your time. Around the corner and across the world there are infinite examples of hardship that, once compared to our own, prove without a doubt that we are in fact wealthy without measure.
Gardening and being in the outdoors helps me gain perspective to better see the goodness in my life and to feel grateful for my blessings. So maybe I didn’t have the best garden this year. Maybe there were a few more weeds, a few less flowers and a lot higher water bills than I had anticipated but I’ll be out there doing it again. That’s what I do, that’s a big part of what makes me what I am.
Whether or not you choose to plant flowers you can be a great gardener. Sow seeds of love, grow fields of hope, plant row upon row of possibilities for a better tomorrow. Then, regardless of the weather, reap what you have sown and be thankful for a bountiful harvest.
Now go outside and have fun in the dirt.