This whole idea for blogging started back in April of this year (didn’t actually start the blog until September; we’ll talk about my issues with procrastination in some other, probably several other, entries.) The reason that I thought of blogging then is because I was in my “obsessed with my garden” season. Every year, springtime produces in me an irrepressible urge to stick my fingers in the dirt. I spend hours preparing the soil, poring over gardening books, shopping the local nurseries, and finally planting that year’s new baby plants. Throughout the spring and into the summer, my family laughs about finding Mommy out in the yard “talking to her flowers.” Throughout “garden obsession time” every year, my journal is filled with thoughts about the many parallels I find between gardening and my spiritual life. My friend, Mary, and I talked in bible study last spring about writing a book of garden meditations…hence, the beginnings of my thoughts on blogging. If I am still blogging next April, just get ready…I gotta million of them!
Then comes late August and early fall. This is where the whole analogy starts to break down…or does it? My garden is looking pitiful right now. The weeds are taking over, the spent flowers need to be cut back, the whole garden is screaming of my neglect. What happened to my gardening fervor? I keep thinking I’ll wait until the perfect time to get out there and do the fall gardening chores and then that day just doesn’t come. It is too hot or it is too wet….I don’t want to get started now, I’ll just get dirty and I have to go somewhere soon. You get the picture. It just isn’t as much fun this time of year.
I think you probably see where this is going. There are times in our spiritual lives when it just isn’t fun anymore. That spiritual growth spurt we were experiencing last week seems to have disappeared. We don’t feel that overwhelming sense of God’s presence like we did last month. We can’t hear God’s voice when we pray and the bible passage we just read makes no sense at all. This whole God thing just doesn’t FEEL as good as it did before. And since it’s no fun, our spiritual life starts to suffer from the same neglect that my garden is experiencing.
But, I think I am learning some things about tending my garden. The work I do today, even the decidedly un-fun stuff, is laying the groundwork for next spring. Clearing away the debris, pulling the weeds, cutting back the faded blooms are all necessary parts of the process of preparing for the next season of growth. And every fall that I reluctantly get my lazy, procrastinating self back out there and start working, I find there actually is some joy in the process. Not the springtime kind of joy; but a quieter, expectant, trusting-that-spring-will-come-again kind of joy. Without fail, spring does indeed come again and I am reminded of why I love gardening so much.
So maybe there are some useful parallels to be found even in my fall garden. Perhaps it would be helpful to think about what weeds we need to pull or what debris we need to clear away the next time God seems far away. And maybe we have to learn to trust that the difficult, often monotonous work we must sometimes do in our relationship with God is part of the process of preparing for the next season of growth. For just like my daffodil bulbs that are hidden beneath the earth, He is always at work in us preparing for the next Springtime in our spirits.