Jessica started her fall garden a couple of weeks ago, and my gardener-mama heart has been so full. Daily, we have been chatting all things soil, seeds, sun exposure, needed growing weeks, frost expectations, compost methods, you name it. This is a wonderful exchange for many reasons, as you can imagine. But something stands out.
Just a short bit into the thrust of her efforts, I caught myself praying that her fall harvest would be abundant. I asked God in kind of a pleading way to reward my baby’s efforts with lots of perfect vegetables and flowers, just all the good, beautiful rewards of hard work well done. I nearly begged Him to give her the “things” that would encourage her to keep going. Proof, you know?
He corrected me immediately.
The best rewards of a garden are not necessarily included in the harvest.
Gardening in its purest form is an ongoing cultivation of Life, a physical expression of art and science, a balance of need and provision between man and Earth and insects and God, of creativity and learning. Gardening is an adventure of trust in natural cycles. And much of this can only be learned by trial and, mostly, error. Lots of valuable error.
I know this.
So why would I deny Jess pleasure of learning on her own? Why would I swerve her away from the immense value of the journey itself?
My Grandpa Rex was a lifelong gardener and a lifelong student of, well, everything he could get his eyes or hands on. He was famous for being okay with not having all the answers, and yet I trusted him to always eventually find the answer and call me back. He trialed new ideas in his various gardens right up to the end of his gardening years, and he had wickedly specific reasons for even the paint he used on his shed. I think of that daily. I love how he never seemed to grow the same garden twice, and he thrived through it all. I want that for Jessica. Grandpa’s life showed the fruits of his labor far beyond his beautiful tomatoes and larkspur. I want that for her, too.
I will be here to guide her as much as I can, and to share my growing adventures alongside her own. And I will help her find good answers to her excellent questions. But I will not pray merely for a good harvest. Now, I am praying for a good experience, too. For good lessons and soul checks. For epiphanies and understandings, connections, realizations. I am praying for her good LIFE. It all matters.
Then, if she pays attention and has a little luck, she’ll get fresh produce, too.
Whew, I am thankful for that mild correction. He always knows what I need to hear.
“When we plant a seed,
we plant a narrative of future possibility.”
~Dr. Sue Stuart Smith
The Well Gardened Mind
I’ve often felt like my garden was a “failure” for all the lack of harvest. But I am slowly learning, a few successes at a time. One year the basil thrives and the next year it’s the tomatoes. I’m a slow learner and our growing season is short for the things I love best. I’m learning to love lettuce and as I garden with children, I’m learning it’s so much about persistence.
I love that you can share a multigeneration love of gardening! Liam still talks about the garden he planted with Alison this year. She definitely made an impression on him. I love your stories and how they help you dig into the roots and truth! You are growing good stuff, Mama Marie!💜
Ahhh yes, persistence. Yes! And patience. And learning to accept what is, whether it’s a short growing season or a limited harvest. I think Growing with children is one of the best kept secrets in gardening. They are lucky to have you!! And thank you for your encouragement, Deb. I love you so much.
Your such a good momma..
Thank you, Deanne! I feel so lucky to get to live this chapter.
Thank you so much, Dee. You are a mother of adults and a lifetime gardener, I respect you so much Thank you for reading! <3
100%. The journey lasts longer than the harvest so we must learn to love it and grow from it!
Gosh yes, the harvest is so brief compared to what we gain by growing ourselves. Yes. Love you!!
Ashley Urke | Domestic Fashionista says
Love this! Sometimes the harvest is the greater gift than the outcome. Always appreciate your thoughtful perspective…and willingness to listen to God’s promptings.
Ashley Urke | Domestic Fashionista says
I mean the gardening…pruning… 🙂
Ashley, thank you for reading and sharing your heart and encouragement!! It is so comforting xoxoxo Keep on pursuing the best gifts!
My mother, my friend, my mentor. I could not stop smiling through each sentence. Your writing is so relatable and touching. It’s interesting to have lived the conversation on the other side; knowing now what you’ve been talking to God about. The wounds I have nursed my small plot through this season seemed to heal me along the way. As you know, the green beans continue their daily rewards! Thank you for the prayers and loving, enthusiastic guidance.