This time of year is busy around here. You may already know, my wife has a ½ acre garden. To most (including me) this is more like a little farm than a garden. She has tended it from having the sod broken by a tractor to engaging a local Amish friend to plow the ground. Then the tiller went into action. This was followed by laying out the beds (they’re like 5 feet by 75 feet), then planting, watering and covering the plants that are tender.
She was treated to periodic grazing by the local deer herd. So we put up a 7’ high deer fence. Then there was water, weeding, fertilizing and more watering.
Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it. Then there’s the payoff. Today, she went to the garden early to beat the heat. When she returned she was aglow. The garden is in full bloom. The corn is waist-high, all the crops are flourishing. She’s even beginning some early harvests.
Why am I telling you this story? Because this is how our lives work, it’s just that we don’t see it. Think about relationships, for instance. We meet someone new, maybe a possible friend or business colleague. We break new ground to start the process of getting to know each other. If we find a sense of connection, we nurture the relationship and it starts to grow.
Like the garden, weeds spring up. Relationship weeds can be in the form of disagreements or hidden agendas or judgments. Whatever the form, if we want our relationship to flourish, we must tend the weeds. We start by finding the source of the discord in ourselves. Then we overcome discomfort and speak honestly. Sticking with the conversation until we are both heard and rediscover harmony.
That’s not all. We also have to water and sometimes fertilize. We spend time together to share our experiences. We celebrate our ups and provide compassion for our downs. We comfort and are comforted. We share candidly and love freely. Our relationship garden can bring each of us the experience of joy just like my wife’s experience this morning.
How are you tending your garden today?