How Is Your Garden?

I’ve been gardening this morning. It rained overnight and a faint drizzle still hung in the air as I pierced the soft, pliable soil and turned it over. The spade plunged deep and before long a reasonable sized hole was before me, in which I proceeded to bed a new addition to our array of plants. Digging is hard work and my fingers are far from green. But I was proud of what I had created over the last few weekends.

I was bringing order to the chaos that was our unkempt front garden. When I look at it now I feel calm, as opposed to anxious at the task which I’d been putting off all these months. But as well as order, the garden looked healthy and alive. It was balm to my soul as opposed to the eyesore I’d been consciously avoiding for so long. With very limited ability, and a healthy dose of hard work, this was my humble creation.

Then it hit me. This was my life, not so long ago. An overgrown mess. Thorns and weeds strangling any goodness which was struggling to reach the light. A barren wilderness of selfish need and negativity. My life was in free fall and I was tumbling helplessly into the void, oblivious to the collateral damage I was wreaking around me. I pushed away all offers of hope, for I knew best. I had all the answers.

I delighted in blaming anyone and everyone for my plight. Physically and mentally I was a wreck. I ate all the wrong foods and binge drinked at the weekend. I got out of breath climbing a flight of stairs and my waistline crept steadily upwards. The OCD I’d battled all my life ran amok through me. Inappropriate thoughts and unacceptable behaviour became the norm. My moral compass spun out of control.

That was then. Today, I tend my garden. I still have a sweet tooth but I try to watch what I eat. I run and sweat off the excess pounds when I feel them creeping back on. I don’t drink and don’t want to drink. I take my medication and talk to others when I feel the intrusive thoughts threatening to take hold again. The routines I adhere to now provide me with focus and clarity. I am in control. I am alive.

I take no personal credit for all of this. If I had my way, I’d probably still be languishing amongst the weeds. Others have dragged me kicking and screaming to where I am today, opened my eyes to the truth. My family, my friends, the list is too long to write down here for that would take a dozen blog posts. Yet I am grateful to each and every one of them and always will be. They saved me from myself.

How is your garden? Do you tend to it daily, pruning back the bushes and keeping the weeds at bay. Or has it been overrun, to the point where you are at a loss as to what needs done. Are you adrift and stranded? If so, reach out, swallow your pride and seek the help you need. And when you find it, cling on tight and milk every last drop of love from it. We need you to flourish, to live the life you were created to live.

It can be your family, your friends, a work colleague. It can be medication, counselling or therapy. It can be running, singing, dancing, whatever. It can be reading this blog every day. It doesn’t matter. Just find it and do it. Your garden is the most precious, beautiful thing you will ever have control over. If your garden is healthy, then it’s more likely so will be those of your loved ones. A community of vibrant, living hope. A community of us.

45 thoughts on “How Is Your Garden?

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  1. Some of your introspective best. I felt such a sense of calm and peace as I read this post. You truly have a gift worthy of sharing. Thank you so much for allowing others to experience your journey. Your writing embodies the call of 2 Corinthians 1:4 to comfort others with the same comfort we have been given. Well done.

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  2. The sense of satisfaction when you’ve made a good job of what seems like an insurmountable mess is always worth it 🙂

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  3. Beautiful testimony. 👏🏼 it’s exactly the season I’m facing. Now as I’ve learn to tend to my garden, ever pruning the dead weeds and creating space for me to bloom. I can’t take all the credit, God is pouring into the garden too. Thanks for this post, it definitely sparked my creativity for sure. ☺️ Have a bless day!

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  4. I love this! It is so full of hope and life and, yes, the struggle is real for all of us. I am still tending my garden, pulling weeds and doing my best. Thanks for this, it is inspiring. And thanks for keeping it real, always.

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  5. Funny thing, last week my daughter and I worked on the flowerbed in the front of our house. It had been overrun by weeds, and neglected for some time. Though it is a rather small plot, we spent a few hours pulling out the plants/weeds, and turning over the soil (or should I say dirt) to purge all traces of the previous plant life before planting our new cacti, and replanting those that were saved. Now it’s just a matter tending to the plot, which is where we failed the previous time.

    I look at myself and see a garden overrun, just like the one we had. There will be far more work required, and I know I can’t do it alone. Like the flowerbed that was just done, I need to dig down to the roots, and most importantly, tend to it daily.

    This was a wonderful post that really puts life into perspective, especially having just worked on a garden myself. Thank you for this.

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  6. My garden is pretty well-kept, but it needs feeding and watering once in a while. Like you, in the past I left it get overgrown and nasty. And I do have an actual 10X10 square of real garden out back by the water; it has tomatoes, kale, green beans, carrots, peppers and an array of flowers. It’s my respite from life.

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  7. It’s been a cold & wet May here in Buffalo so I haven’t been doing much gardening. But I did put some of the house plants out on the porch & they look nice out there. What I need to do is get some new pots & potting soil & repot these plants … they need it. As metaphors go, I think I need a bit of repotting myself & some new soil. I love my new apartment but I do think it’s not quite the right place for me. However, like a weed, i do manage to thrive no matter where my stubby roots are planted. (I say “stubby roots” because of my funny little toes).

    Don’t regret your weed life. Those days made you strong for the life you have now. Someday you’ll need those lessons! You’ll need to pass them on to some other young weed so they don’t get cut down by a weed-whacker.

    & always remember … one man’s weed is another man’s lovely flower. Look at the lovely Queen Anne’s Lace.

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  8. My garden always seems to be a mess no matter how hard I try. I’m going to keep working on it though until it’s the beautiful garden it should be. One I can look at everyday and see the progression. I love your posts I find honesty, happiness and wisdom in them.

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  9. Your garden looks lovely! I am still lost among the brambles over here but I am starting to dig my way out. Thank you for giving me hope that one day I will see beauty from the chaos.

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  10. Is that picture at the bottom of your post a picture of your actual front garden? Beautiful! If you can do that, you can do vegetables. They are not hard. It’s very calming to me to go out and pick little bits of this and that for a lovely green salad. And it’s so fresh!

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