I wish I didn’t kill plants.
I don’t intend to neglect them. I start out the spring season with high hopes, a fresh face, and a willing heart. But then, I forget to water the poor things. Rainfall from the sky doesn’t seem to be enough in this desert climate I live in. My petunias soon shrivel. While my roses hang on bravely, they just can’t endure a scorching sun with no sustenance.
It’s probably good, then, that my livelihood doesn’t depend on my skills with the earth. I haven’t attempted a vegetable garden since my brother and I were teens. And, now that I’m older, I realize that the success of those plants was probably due to David’s care rather than my own.
My grandpa Raymond would probably chuckle at my lack of ability with gardening. He ran a whole farm successfully for many, many years. A favorite sight for him was the towering corn, the flourishing wheat, and the lush soybeans – all ripe for the harvesting.
When I was younger, I loved riding my bike with my brother along the rutted roads near our farm village in Germany and beholding the vast fields, rife with abundance. Time was spent in these fields. Ground was plowed, seeds were sown, and weeds prevented. Rain fell. Irrigation helped during draughts. The golden wheat represented hours of toil. The corn stood tall because of sweat and back-breaking effort.
I love a good, full, heavy harvest.
Yet I neglect to put in the work.
I’m not diligent during the spring and summer months to ensure my plants bring forth fruit. I get lazy. I get distracted. I get busy.
The same pattern happens in my soul. I want a hearty, healthy, full soul. I want the fruits of God’s Spirit in me. I crave love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. But then, I’m pulled away by the cares of life. I start making excuses. I become complacent.
Then, the harvest comes….and my soul is like a barren field.
I once had a gentleman remark to me that he hated the autumn season. “It means winter is coming. Everything is dying.”
But it also means good crops, full pantries, and fed families….because life comes from death.
A tall stalk of corn grew because a seed died.
So, I’m ruminating on what needs to die, so that life can flourish in my soul.
If I want truth, lies have to die.
If I want love, hate has to die.
If I want real community, the pretending “I have it all together” has to die.
If I want lasting friendships, gossip has to die.
If I want laughter, meanness has to die.
If I want peace, fighting has to die.
If I want to see justice, unfairness has to die.
If I desire mercy, vengeance has to die.
If I want real change, I need to die to my selfishness,
and rise again with Christ in me—the hope of glory.
Something has to die in order for more life to ensue.
Every farmer knows this.
I’m going to plant again in spring. For sure. I’m going to try again to feed, water, and care for my plants. I want to attempt an herb garden.
But, in the meanwhile, as the leaves fall, and the wind blows in snow, I’m going to work on my soul. Let the old things die away. Let new grace arise in me…little by little….new growth by new growth…until next year, I’m hoping to say:
“May the road rise to meet you, may the winds always be at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your face, the rains fall soft upon your fields, and until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of His hand.”