Sunday, August 01, 2010

Sunday Afternoon Tea

I realized this week that every man (woman) is a gardener.  I think there is something inherent in each of us... leftovers from Eden... that makes us smile when we see new growth... whether a ripe tomato, corn just picked, or Queen Anne's Lace on the side of the road.  We were created for the cycle of life, originally in perfection but enjoyed in its' current flawed state of being.

I have been feeding my compost pile the vegetables which were too bruised or ruined to use, both at picking and when too much time passed before I could get to them in the kitchen.  There is something about the compost pile which makes me not quite so unhappy about fruit and vegetables showing the affects of the Fall of Eden... that which is imperfect and dying used to bring new life to soil come next spring.

I've also been pondering attitude this week, how one can change their days by how they choose to face them.  One cannot always choose circumstances but we can make the choice in how we let them affect us.  As I officially passed from one age to another this week, I pondered years past as well as present and how my life turned out so differently than what I had planned.

No where in my five year, ten year, twenty year plans did I think I would meet my mid-fifties quite so poor financially challenged... strong in faith from having God's miracles show up just in time. I never wrote chronic illness on the white board and I always thought my husband would get better as time went on... not (by any means) worse.

There is something about working in the garden or lawn or pruning bushes or even dumping veggies on the compost pile that brings my mind to the Word of God... back to the Master Gardner's wisdom.  I can never ever look at a tree branch which has fallen in a storm... in time becoming all brown and withered... without thinking of the 15th Chapter of John's Gospel.

As I placed the veggies and pulled weeds and herb stems and that which was left from preparing meals (you know; that last bit of onion or carrot at the root, or egg shells, or coffee grounds, or the peels from the potato)... I thought how the compost pile was much like what our life is like.  Stay with me here even though your brain (fortunately) does not work as mine... :)

One never puts meat or bones or corn cobs or anything else on the compost pile which either doesn't disintegrate properly, poisons the soil, or would draw animals.  Instead we add that which was good but no longer can be used as it was originally grown.

That is what the attitude we bring towards our life will do... if we choose to keep it free of bitterness (toward God, people, and ourselves) then God can use the bad stuff to create good... Romans 8:28.  However, if instead we hoard within ourselves anger and bitterness and unbelief... it will turn only to rot and not fresh life-giving compost.

When we form a clear picture of life... which is only possible from the Word of God... we know this world is not all there is.  All we can take with us are those who have come to know Him through our influence and our Story... how we lived our life during the few precious years we have here on earth.

He doesn't ask for perfection, no... He took care of that on the Cross... as we invite Him into our life and ask for forgiveness... He makes us clean... as white as newly fallen snow in the Father's Eyes.  What He asks is us to live according to His Word... keeping us free from anger and bitterness and unforgiveness and fear.

That is only possible when we choose the attitude of laying all at His feet... not that we don't feel these... sometimes daily... but just as I placed the rotten veggies on the compost pile... I place the rotten emotions at His feet... and He makes something lovely out of my life.

Picture: Under the sunflowers, Robert Duncan; allposters.com

25 comments:

L'Aussie said...

I love how you have used gardening and the compost heap to teach a very important lesson in life..:)

Mrs. V. said...

I needed that this morning ~ thanks.

samcoll said...

Thank you for such a wonderful post! I always look forward to reading your interesting thoughts! It is good to think about the brokenness we bring to the cross and what He gives us back! Thanks again!~Jennifer

Vee said...

Excellent analogy. And boy did I ever need an essay on keeping bitterness at bay. There are days when I find myself saying repeatedly that I'm going to lose it. Now THAT is definitely not edifying to me nor anyone. We truly must guard our thoughts and hearts and minds.

matty said...

Lovely thought. I attended a service in Concord in which the minister compared gardening to how we tend our souls. We can either allow the weeds to grow, which shades the plant and keeps it from being all it should, or we can weed out the bad, thus allowing the good to thrive! Wonderful reminder, dear friend! Happy belated birthday!

Anonymous said...

Very wonderful comparisons, Brenda! I too have been thinking about goals...which in my later years have been and are very small generally..."rolling with the punches" has been so often needed, that other than making it to the KINGDOM, most of my life consists of very small goals. My husband has larger goals, which is pretty much necessary in working and trying to figure out HOW to retire ere too many more years. I had so many dreams and goals when young, and a lot more optimism too, but there is contentedness now, in knowing that my FATHER plans for me anyway. And I have found in the last few years that when difficult kin pass out more sadness, so often now, I do not need to cry when it comes. In fact, hubby and I have often experienced the FATHER warning us of the approaching storm and then when it hits, we are not caught by surprize. And too, we find more compassion for these sad people who pass out grief as they go along. And we go on down the road of life, looking for all the good and good days we can find. The Scripture is so wonderful in helping us see ahead to the Kingdom...I really do not know how people can exist without that!!
Blessings,
Elizabeth

Lisa in Texas = ) said...

Such a great lesson to learn. Thanks, Lisa :o)

Anonymous said...

Great post Brenda. You always say something I need to hear.
Matty, I liked what you said about tending the soul like a garden. Your minister sounds like a wise and good speaker.
Remember what John Lennon said, "Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

freetobeme - Anita said...

So interesting and true. Thanks for sharing!

Kay said...

Loved This! I'm going to point a few folks over this way to read it. (and I love the look of your blog-- not sure if it's new since I normally read you in my Google reader)

horse loving lineman's wife said...

Thank you so much for sharing that with us. I so needed it today! Have an Awesome Monday!! :o)

Heart Song said...

Thank you, Brenda. I REALLY needed this today; to be reminded of God's love for me and my husband.
We are in our fifties, also, and life certainly has not turned out the way we thought it would.

I love what you said about laying down all the fear, bitterness, and unforgiveness at the Lord's feet to be turned into compost! Beauty for ashes... God bless you!
Marsha

Karen June Miller said...

Very well said! Super illustration!

Thanks for sharing,
KJ

Karen June Miller said...

Very well said! Super illustration!

Thanks for sharing,
KJ

cindy said...

Wonderful lesson and great way to tie everything together.

Cindy

Jane said...

Beautiful and very thought-provoking post! I want to come back to read all the comments too.
Jand-Jacksonville

SparkieL aka Lisa said...

I came over from Kay's blog... I just want to say thank you. This was a joy to read!

hmsclmom said...

Simply beautiful and wonderfully put. God bless you Brenda. :)

Heather said...

I always get so excite when I remove the compost from the bottom door of the composter to screen it for the garden - it just makes sense that something we see as useless or even distasteful can become something rich, useful and beautiful because that's just how God's economy works. I love that He is in the business of taking all of our sin and covering it with His righteousness, all of our sorrow and turning it into joy, and all of our worry and producing in us faith and patience. Eventually!
In my compost pile certain things take a little more time 'cooking' so we throw them back in for another go around and eventually they do break down and become fertile soil for good planting. I think that's true for godly character as well - we often don't develop it the first trail around, but after many trials. I often wish I was more teachable so that I would not have to learn the lesson again and again but now that I see your analogy, I am much like the hard old corn cob or peach pit that has to go back into the pile again to be softened and decomposed a bit longer before it can be used!

Mrs.Rabe said...

Lovely thoughts Brenda!

Thanks...

Christy@WickedHappy said...

What a thought provoking post. Thanks so much for sharing with us.

Lallee said...

That is such a perfect analogy. It will stick with me. Monitoring our thoughts is such a full time job. It is so much easier when it is filled with His word regularly.

Christina said...

I like your "white board" idea. My mom likes to say that she didn't "check the box" for certain things (having twins and not having a career outside the home are two of them).

I enjoyed this entry as well as your gardening examples. :)

tina said...

Amen and thank you.

Terri said...

My precious daughter in law sweetly listened to me just this a.m. saying some of the same things about "Life" and life plans that I never dreamed would be me...... Thank you so much for sharing!!! How uplifting your comments were!! Terri