Leaving your Garden Unattended

in Blog Testimonials

Image for Leaving your Garden Unattended

For the past 10 years I lived in a beautiful home that sat on five acres of land.  Shortly after moving into this house, I began to create a cutting garden – one that would give me flowers all summer long.  Over the last 10 years many Springs were spent tending, weeding, turning over soil and planting. – looking for just the right combination of flowers to fill my home.

This summer was a special one for my garden.  It was the summer that my house was up for sale.  I cleaned it out from the last year.  I planted something new.  We turned over the soil to start the season fresh and clean.  Then, I lost motivation to continue.  The days got exceptionally hot.  It didn’t seem like mine anymore.  The house was being shown – and then it was sold.  In August I looked at my garden with sorrow and a bit of shame.

The morning I moved from my home I woke up early, put on an old bathing suit, some old boots, and trudged off to my garden.  It was in sad, sad shape.  Vines grew everywhere.  Weeds had taken over.  What a metaphor for life, I thought as I pulled, sweat, and pulled some more.  This is what happens when we don’t tend our garden…

Our garden could be our marriage, friendships, our work, our children, our studies, our house, our own self-care – you name it.  Why do we choose to not live in the present and “see” what is happening?  It is sometimes easier to not see the weeds growing.  Whether you call it ignorance, being an “ostrich”, or denial – it is all the same. Sometimes we choose to see the weeds, but we feel overwhelmed and get frozen – “I don’t know what to do.”  Sometimes we choose to see the weeds and decide to give up – “Why bother.”  Sometimes it is a fear of confrontation.  Sometimes it is a fear of knowing that this could possibly be the end.  Sometimes there is a hope that if we ignore it, it will go away.

I was once told by a friend that during their five year marriage, they never had a fight.  Voices were never raised.  Conflict wasn’t done.  So, there would be anger, it would be ignored until time took it away, and then they moved on.  I can see it in my mind, every time there was a potential conflict without resolution, another weed and vine grew.  Weed after weed.  Vine after vine.  Eventually the weeds and vines took over.  My friend was surprised when their marriage fell apart.  Gardens need tending – even it means getting our hands dirty, pricked by thorns and sweat stinging our eyes.

My beautiful lillies were being taken over by weeds.  My sedum was being strangled by vines.  I spent hours doing a job that would have taken me minutes if I had kept it up during the summer.  When we procrastinate – the challenges don’t go away, they grow and get more complicated.  They are more difficult to fix – take more time, effort, energy, and pain.  Simple tasks – like communication, asking for your needs, apologizing for your poor behavior – become enormous jobs when left to grow and multiply.

I am sure I lost some of my more delicate plants.  Just like we can lose friendships and other relationships when neglected and left to their own means.  If we don’t follow up, clarify our statements, make sure all is well, stories are created.  Assumptions are made.  People fall by the wayside.

The vines that overtook my garden had gorgeous blue flowers on them.  They would have been perfect on a portico or trellis.  No matter how beautiful, they were toxic to my cutting garden.  Just like neglecting your intimate partner – another exotic flower may come in to share your space.  This person may be toxic to your relationship.  Yet, you opened the door through neglect.

It felt so good getting dirty in my garden.  These flowers gave my home beauty and my soul joy for the last 10 years.  They were reflective of my strengths and weaknesses.  They were reflective of my relationships.  I loved leaving it cleaner and prospering for the new people who would live in my home.  It will be theirs to tend or neglect.

What garden in your life needs tending?  I encourage you – I beg of you – go into your garden and get your hands dirty.  Get your body dirty!  Get poked and prodded by thorns and conflict!  It will feel so good afterward – and your “garden” will love you for it!

Love to you!