Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday Afternoon Tea

While working in the garden this past week, I realized why the Gospels are full of metaphors regarding weeds, tares, vines, fruit, sewing, reaping.. and generally getting your hands in the dirt. For this was the very stuff of day to day living for people at one time.

I had given the garden a nice long shower as it is no more acclimated to the heat than I am. When making my way through squash leaves to look for green beans, I realized this plant reminded me of those 1950s movies where radiation had hit plants and they grew to the size of a Buick. I knew what I had to do... I had to pull that plant out or everything around it was in jeopardy. Sigh...

As I walked across the lawn, pulling that bunch of vines behind me to the compost pile in the far corner of our property, I wondered if I had done the right thing. There were teeny tiny yellow squash on this plant. It was still producing. It looked great. Now it is compost fodder.

However, when I returned to the garden... I kid you not... it looked like the green beans, basil, lemon balm, and lemon thyme, and the cute purple striped eggplant... were raising their leaves toward heaven and drinking in the sunshine for the first time in a couple of weeks. Yes, I had done the right thing.

Then, being a pondering type person, I realized that is what God has done to me in the past. He removed perfectly good and fruitful "things" in my life to make room for what He had for me... replacing the good for the best. I felt just the same as when that vine was pulled out of the soil, gasp... cough... shudder.. I'm dying here, Lord! I'm bearing fruit! I need this "fill in the blanks" in my life.

It can be a job, or a house, or a person, or any number of things... all plucked away while I stomp my feet and mumble and complain and grumble and cry... all about what has been taken away. Sometimes it took years, others only weeks, to realize the "taking away" is the very thing that made room for growth of faith, or trust, or hope. There were also the times when He replaced that which had been torn away with something better.

There was the big stuff... job losses, houses, health. Other seasons have required giving up relatively small items (in relation to the big stuff) such as hundreds and hundreds of books as we downsized over the years. We still have seven bookshelves... six large and one tiny shelf which holds favorite fiction hubby has read through the years. We continue to find places for stacks of books here and there. But every once in awhile I think of a book long gone and miss it.

A couple times a year I go through the house and declutter... sending to charity boxes containing kitchen stuff, tea cups and saucers, silk flowers, knicky knacks, artwork, pillows, plates, clothing... and even books... generally those items I could part with (which were good) so our home will be comfortable and not cluttered (the best).

I was so inspired by the removal of the squash plant that I (ouch) also pulled out a pretty flower from the other garden bed, which had grown so large it was blocking the sun from the cherry tomato and green beans plants. Getting rid of the good for the best...

I'll start paying more attending to those parables in the Gospels. :)


Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

What an interesting thought, Brenda. To me it is a new way of looking at things and I will think about this now and see how it applies to my life (as well as my garden!)

Lisa said...

This was just the inspiration that I needed today, thank you so much!

freddie said...

Always so wise!!
Thank you Brenda
Ciao from a very very hot Rome

scrappy quilter said...

AMEN!! Awesome post!!

Linda said...

Thanks this is a good thing for me to hear right now as I am starting a round of deep cleaning and decluttering. Also I think it is so true. I try to keep my life simple, but it isn't easy for me to declutter certain areas. Linda

Anonymous said...

Your entry today is good fodder for me in the impression that has been on me for a long while and of which I have yet accomplished little and that is to PARE DOWN!! That is so hard for those of us who can find so many uses for so many things!! But I am realizing at the rate of speed I go these days, it is likely much of it won't be something I manage to deal with in my lifetime anyway.

Long ago we gave up a house we had built with much blood, sweat and tears...but now, we rather like not owning and being more free to move when we feel led to do so. Something like that could have tied us down for good!!

But it was oh so painful in parting!! But tis ok now!!

Blessings, Elizabeth

Rhonda Jean said...

A wise post, Brenda. I also wanted to thank you for the wonderful links on your blog. I've been slowly going through them.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this Brenda. I have had many "good" things taken away in the past few years and I wonder constantly why they had to go. I still cry about missing them too. Some were people, some were activities...I loved them all.
I guess maybe God needed to make room in my life for better things...I'll have to be on the lookout for them.
Thank you Brenda. :)

Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

This was a wonderful analogy. I have a bad habit of holding on to way too many things. I tell myself I will read magazine articles later and art supplies are piled up to the moon. I need to think more about what you said about getting rid of things so God can help with the better thing for me. Thank you.

Amanda said...

I want to thank you for this post. It is exactly what I needed to hear today. I am currently dealing with an issue with a set of friends that I have been close to for years. Now things have changed and definately NOT for the better. I have started to distance myself, but it may be that I just need to "pull it out by the roots" to solve the situation. Who knows, maybe God has some even better friends waiting around the corner for me!
Thanks again for all your great posts! I have learned so much from you!

Becky K. said...

An excellent analogy, Brenda.

It is so true.

Becky K.

Marie said...

It is hard to do that, though. I will tell my husband that I am going out to cut some of the flowers way back. He doesn't want me to do it, he wants to continue to look at those blooms. If you cut it back, it will look bad for a while but then become more beautiful. He never wants to thin plants but if you do they will grow so much stronger and prettier.
I find it hard to thin out my things though. I will say that I am going to get into drawers or a closet and get rid of "stuff", but more often than not the "stuff" goes back.
Thanks for applying this to our lives!

Linda Hibner said...

Well, once again you cut to the chase beautifully. What a great life lesson from your gardening. God's best in exchange for what we thought was good. I'm with you on that, though I certainly went kicking and screaming when my husband and I downsized last year. Now, without all that "stuff" that seemed important at the time, our lives are far more content with less. God is good every day in every way. Thanks for the reminder, sweet friend.

Packrat said...

Wow, isn't amazing how many different books there are. I saw only two that I have. Will look into finding some of the ones you have. Thank you for sharing.

martha said...

Very inspiring post, Brenda. Spoke to me. I have been convicted about the time I spend reading (Christian) blogs. Sometimes I would rather read about housekeeping than actually keep my house!!! So I am setting boundaries and praying for discipline. Thanks for the encouragement.

Lallee said...

That is a beautiful and perfect analogy, Brenda. I have weeds on my mind this morning as I see how quickly they have grown in my yard while I was tending other family duties. I always think of weeds as an analogy to sin. They can look pretty and harmless sometimes, until they grown and encroach and damage. better to pull them out while still young and small.