Lessons from my Garden

During my 10 days of isolation due to Covid, I have had more time than usual to look out at and appreciate the beauty of my garden. I have also had more opportunities to think about what lessons I can learn from what I see there. This is the time of the year when the garden comes to life, with the flowering of the spring bulbs and leaves starting to appear on the shrubs and trees.
In the front garden, right in front of my bedroom window is a beautiful cherry tree, the blossom of which has seemed more prolific than usual this year. It has been the first thing my eyes have alighted on as I have opened the curtains each morning. After some days, of course, the wind began to blow the petals off but because there was so much of it, the tree retained its beautiful pink colour for quite a while. Some days, when the wind blew stronger, the petals covered the whole lawn and even spread all the way across and along the road, turning everywhere pale pink. This made me think of how we as Christians should radiate the beauty and love of Christ as we live our everyday lives and reminded me of the scripture that speaks of us being ‘to God the aroma of Christ’ (2 Cor 2:15). Let us each consider how we can do this this week in our own particular circumstances.
Also in the front garden is a plant which I should have uprooted long ago. I left it because I wanted to see what it would grow into but now it has grown so large it will take a very big effort to get rid of. It is probably a job beyond my ability to do myself now! This got me thinking about whether there are things in my life that I should root out before they have a negative effect on my Christian walk. The writer to Hebrews warns us against allowing any bitter root to grow up to cause trouble (12:15) and James reminds us how our desires can so easily lead us into doing wrong  (1:14-15). Maybe we should all examine our hearts this week to see whether there are any negative thoughts, attitudes or actions that need uprooting from our lives before they lead us into deeper trouble.
Until just recently, in the back garden there was a fig tree. In the early days of our being in the house it was a lovely tree which gave welcome shade in the hot days of summer. However, in recent years it grew so large that it shaded half the garden and had a negative effect on the plants growing near it. Each autumn, its leaves covered the lawn and we noticed that the grass under it was not as lush and green as the grass on the ever decreasing non-shaded side. Having been told that pruning would only encourage further growth we sadly decided that for the sake of the health of the rest of the garden, the fig tree had to go. The fig tree was a perfectly good tree that in another place, could have thrived and given pleasure but we knew that keeping it where it was would not be good for our garden. Sometimes things that in themselves are good can so overtake our lives that the time we give to worship, to learning from God’s word, prayer, Christian service etc. are reduced so much that we begin to drift away from God. Especially as we are beginning to return to a more normal lifestyle, let us examine ourselves and pray for God to help us organise our lives so that we can keep close to Him and strong in our faith..
As we continue to admire our gardens and the gardens of others this springtime, let us praise God for their beauty and also take time to consider what they can teach us about how to live well for God.

Mary Breeze