so you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
In the dead
of winter, I need hope. I need to believe in what I can't
see in the dormant ground beneath my feet. Flipping through
garden catalogs, I dream about the new growth of spring. I
envision daffodils and daisies sprouting in my someday-soon
But gardening is more
than daydreaming. To stand knee-deep in flowers, there's lots
to do between now and then. We know if we give weeds an inch
they will take a yard; so, we pull here and mulch there. We
sharpen rusty tools and prune old tree wood. In the meantime,
shoes get muddy, muscles ache and fingernails break.
It doesn't take long
to discover that life is like gardening-always less than we
expect and much more than we expect. The label on the fertilizer
box promises if we scatter right and water deep, our tender
vegetation will grow. It never mentions golf ball size hail
or hungry rabbits and nosy deer.
Sometimes our unrealistic
and unrealized expectations get in the way of reality. I am
learning that my love for roses doesn't lessen their thorns
any more than insecticides keeps pests away. Maybe you were
taught like I was to expect that if you are fair in your dealings,
you will be fairly treated. If you eat a balanced diet, work
hard, and keep your vows, you'll be healthy, wealthy and happy.
If you believe hard enough and pray long enough, your faith
will keep you safe from loss. You never expect leukemia might
strike; or that the company will downsize and you'll lose
your job. And you certainly don't expect that divorce could
happen to you.
Overnight, the unexpected
can wipe out years of dreams like the rabbit wipes out rows
of lettuce. When your vision blurs with "what might have been,"
it is not easy to hope in a future you can't see. It takes
raw courage to believe something beautiful will sprout again
in a chewed-up flowerbed and a loss-ravaged heart. What is
empty looks more
like "My efforts were not enough"
rather than sacred space for something new to grow.
I think we all struggle
accepting that life is what it is. Things happen that are
not fair. Or safe. We cannot always expect love in return.
Yet whatever happens, God continually calls us to head toward
In the dead winter
of our soul, we need hope. We need to believe in an eternal
future we can't see. But between now and heaven, there's lots
to do. Tending our soul. Deepening our relationship with the
One who created us.
As we cultivate what
is sacred, we start living with a sense of eternity instead
of a sense of entitlement. Instead of focusing on the wasteland
beneath our feet, we look up. We catch a tiny glimpse of the
spiritual lushness God is creating in our soul. Along the
way, we begin to notice faith and peace sprouting in our lives
again. When we live with the end in mind, we come back to
If you wait for perfect conditions,
you will never get anything done... Be sure to stay busy and
plant a variety of crops, for you never know which will grow--perhaps
they all will." --- Ecclesiastes 11:4-6
So, what really matters?
What needs tending in your soul? Click a topic for hope and
inspiration for this day.
or inspirational contributions are welcome--including poems,
quotations, verses, and stories.
It is apparent that no lifetime is
long enough in which to explore the resources of a few yards
--Alice M. Coats