Gardening has been teaching me valuable lessons.
The first thing I've learned is PATIENCE. The first photo was taken around the time I planted them, the second photo taken just this morning. While there has been quite a spectacular change in size, there is just the tiniest evidence that one day we will be enjoying the fruits of the harvest. This relates to my spiritual life in many ways. It really is no wonder that many of the parables of Jesus referred to gardening.
Patience. It is a virtue, and nothing teaches patience more than waiting for 60-72 days for vegetables and fruit to grow and ripen. Each day when I go out to water, I check to see the progress of growth and each day I notice a small difference. Looking at the photos I can see a huge difference, it is a perspective that I think about with my spiritual life. Day by day I am growing in small ways and over time, I can look back and see how far I have come. Some days it seems that I have stopped growing or even gone backwards only to find that I have made progress, even if it is slow.
Another thing I've learned is how much we take for granted. In our society, we are in such a hurry to go places, if we get hungry we can always pull in to the nearest fast food place and order a hamburger. We can always stop at WalMart and get x,y,z that we need. But this process has caused me to wonder how society was when they didn't have McDonald's or WalMart. There was a time when people grew their own food and lived on only what they could produce. I would be in serious trouble if I had to rely on my little garden patch for sustenance. Growing my own vegetables gives me such an appreciation for the food that we are blessed to have on our table each day. It gives me an awareness of slowing down and enjoying life, at the pace of nature rather than the pace of society.
Because when you care for a plant every day and it takes two months for it to give you food, you really appreciate that. You see the process that goes into what it takes for a tomato to go from a small plant to yielding fruit, which is quite different than going to the store and buying it from the shelf. Many times those tomatoes have sat on my counter and ended up rotting. It is because I didn't appreciate it as much as I do now. You can bet that these are not going to waste!
There is so much that can be learned from gardening. Patience. Thankfulness. An awareness of the amazing way that our world is created, seeing nature up close and being a part of it. It is a rewarding and very insightful venture.