Yesterday we cleaned out and prepared the garden. It was a big job. We worked hard. The vegetable beds neglected, hidden beneath a blanket of pine straw, chickweed and deadnettle. As we tilled the soil, I was pleasantly surprised to lay eyes on such lush and loamy earth hidden beneath winter’s debris. We live on the coast, so our ground is naturally sandy and lacks much of the nutritious matter that vegetable plants require in order to flourish and produce during the growing season. As one might imagine, we invest a lot of energy into adding the appropriate amendments and rich compost to our garden every year so as to ensure a fruitful harvest. Each season the soil steadily improves. Well-fed, hale and hearty, this year’s earth looks to be in the best condition yet.
This morning, I realized my soul is really not that much different than my vegetable garden. When neglected, ignored and left in silence, my soul becomes overtaken by the burdens of the world all around. It becomes hidden beneath a blanket of uncertainty, overgrown with sadness and tangled in anxiety. Just as the rich and nutritious earth becomes cloaked in pine straw, chickweed and deadnettle during the brutal winter, so too, does my soul during brutal seasons in my life. But all of that is just fine. Just as I’ve spent years feeding and caring for the soil in my garden to ensure a triumphant outcome, I too, have spent a lot of years feeding and caring for my soul, filling it with goodness.
The sand in my garden occurs naturally. It is okay that it exists. It is supposed to be there. After all, this is where I live and this is what the earth is made up of in the place where I live. But for the outcome I want to experience, the sand does not serve my garden well. Therefore I invest time and energy into adding goodness and nourishment to my garden. Not in an effort to eliminate the sand all together (that would be impossible) but simply to lessen the sand’s impact on my soil, and to ensure an abundant outcome. The negativity, the challenges, the pain we experience in this life occurs naturally too. It is okay that it exists. After all, this is the earthly existence in which we live and as we all know it is filled with grief and triumph alike. But for the outcome I want to experience in this life, the grief does not always well serve my soul. Therefore, I have spent many years investing time and energy into adding goodness and nourishment to my soul. Not in an effort to eliminate grief all together (that would be impossible) but simply to lessen the impact grief has on the outcome of my existence. To ensure that when the negativity, challenges and pain lay heavy, there rests a fruitful, lush and well-fed soul beneath the surface.
It has been a while since I put in a long day of physical labor and dirt-work. Yesterday was that day. It felt good. I went to bed last night with callused hands, sore arms, a sun-kissed face and a sense of accomplishment. In this season, my garden will survive and live well. It has also been a while since I put in a long morning of prayerful meditation and soul-work. Today was that day. It felt good. And I will continue to go about my day with the comfort of peaceful knowing, a love-kissed spirit and a sense of encouragement. In this season, my soul will survive and live well.
Taking care of my garden is a labor of love. As is, taking care of my soul. Nourishment, thoughtfulness, time and energy… All of this equates to an abundant outcome.