Blog therapy: The Joy of Gardening, part 1

Blog therapy: The Joy of Gardening, part 1

Recently I finished a 15-page blog post. It took me all day compared with the usual 30 or so minutes. What’s different about this post is I tried to articulate my relationship with both sides of my family. It got ugly early as I tried, to no avail, taking emotion out of my post. I tried to be true to my journalistic training but diarrhea of the fingers got worse and worse. The only cure was more typing.

About four hours into that post, I figured out I was writing my memoir. I felt incredible after I finished but I also saw all the holes. I know I owe no one an explanation for how I feel but, after all, I am writing my book. It’s an experience that, while not necessarily unique, was the most difficult of my life.
Why I blog
I blog so I don’t kill anyone. If I don’t get it off my chest it will eat me up inside as it has for most of my life resulting in depression and PTSD. God decided I don’t get to have an easy life. I’ve been marked for greatness but in order to be great, I have to be tested, proven. What a pain in the behind though I’m beginning to see the “why” in all of this.

My memoir is inside of me. I’m pregnant with it but now it’s overdue. It’s almost as if God won’t let me think of anything else except the fact that I need to tell me story. People need to read about it. IMHO, a Hollywood producer needs to pick it up and pay me to finish complete with blockbuster royalties and a major media tour.

Well, I’ve decided to start publishing this work in bite-size chunks. After all, anyone can eat an elephant a bite at a time. Are you game?
The joy of gardening, part 1

God granted me the joy of gardening because He knows and understands my passionate heart. There are so many life lessons in preparing, planting/sowing, tending and harvesting/reaping. I’ve grown vegetable gardens so large that from spring to fall we gave away a large portion of our bounty and still saved plenty of money eating our home grown fruit and vegetables.

While I tended to my garden and other landscaping ventures, i.e., roses, flowers, etc., all those Bible parables came alive. Over time, gardening became meditation. It was just me and God. He talked, I gardened and listened … and talked back.

Clearing out weeds, turning, fertilizing soil were first steps.

God spoke so clearly to me about my own weeds and soil. The biggest revelation was that God referred to our hearts as soil. If I neglect the soil, weeds grow.

I’m allergic to weeds yet had so much of it in my life. I had no clue they always were there. Weeds, I thought, only referred to my sin problem and, Lord knows, I had plenty. Unfortunately, those responsible for tending to my garden early on in life severely neglected my soil and allowed weeds not only to grow but flourish. I mistook weeds for the real thing.

Mediocrity was plenty good enough even though perfection was demanded early and often with no good example to follow. Why should I kill myself trying to live a good, clean life when all it will get me is more misery?

After all, cold-blooded, selfish, cut-throat people lived affluently. So if I wanted what they had, a life of cold-blooded, codependent-lifestyle decision making would result in the kinds of prosperity that appeared to be the American Dream.

Like any good farmer, I always had hoped my vineyard and/or garden would be lush, green, fruitful and hearty. But when I saw the garden plot, it was an untamed, wild mess complete with weeds as tall as me and an old redwood tree stump. The task was daunting and I had hayfever of the worst kind.

My dad came over one Saturday and we started tilling soil, removing weeds, etc. Yeah, it was work. Yeah, it was worth it in ways that mattered.

Once weeds (stinkin’ thinkin’) were cleared out, soil turned (repented) and fertilizer (regular praise, worship, fellowship) were applied, it was time to create order.

Methodical madness

Having traveled through San Joaquin Valley several occasions, I decided to plant using the hills and valleys method. With a hoe, I cut valleys and planted seed on hills, i.e., __^__^__^__. I was very mindful of the distance needed between rows and seeds so as to allow other plants to grow and be fruitful for their seasonal life.

I knew I couldn’t just throw seeds around blindly and hope for the best. I had a well thought out plan and implemented accordingly. The strategy was while the crops grew on hills, water flowed through valleys. I cut a channel along the edges so water would circulate freely but orderly ensuring all plants were watered. Basically, if I left the garden hose on one row, the whole garden filled with water.

Every good garden needs a great Gardener, someone who watches for hazards such as gophers who eat roots such as potatoes, carrots, etc., or birds who dig around for seeds. An organic Farmer ensures regular fertilization and watering as well as making sure plants don’t grow over each other and weeds are kept at bey.

Another key to gardening is pruning. I’ve learned if I don’t pay attention on a regular basis, my garden can get out of hand. This is especially true with roses. In order for roses to grow, they require special fertilizer, old rose buds must be cut off and suckers, rose vines that bear no fruit (roses) and suck the life out of the plant, hence the name, must be pruned off so the plant remains fruitful with its lovely flowers.

What’s interesting about suckers is they grow quite fast, high, thick and look incredibly hearty. Very deceiving until you notice zero rose buds.
I know a Gardener who killed a fig tree for being fruitless. Same principle.

Nevertheless, when winter sets in and the plant goes dormant, it’s time to prune to the quick. It might look like you’re killing the plant but really you’ve made it possible to be fruitful again come next spring.

Who knew that I would learn such a valuable lesson. Seasons come and go in my life and I’ve learned that no matter how good a thing is in my life, it’s only for a season and not forever. Only Jesus is forever.

I’ve had many things come and go in my life such as schools, dance lessons, NCAA softball, jobs, bosses, computers, relatives, so-called friends, churches, etc. The one thing I thought I could always count on was family. Never for a single minute did I ever imagine pruning my family from my life.

But I’m a like a rose bush or grapevine. My family was important for a long time. They were necessary to grow up and transition out and step into my own life and my own backyard. As I have learned recently, with prize-winning roses I don’t have to trim all the way to the quick.

However, it is necessary to let go of those things I think are so precious and dear. They could be the very thing that is killing me. After all, when I die, I can’t take it with me.

My relatives have become like suckers or those really gross and ugly-looking tomato slugs. They were sucking the life out of and/or feeding off of me to make them feel important, needed.

I need God, not them. When I got married, I left my parents and cleaved to my husband, my new family. Of course, my relatives would always be my relatives but I’m no longer beholden to them for anything. My primary responsibility was my husband and our new family. I was called by God to be an expert where my family was concerned.

This garden was mine in which to thrive or survive. The fruit of our relationship was, of course, our two precious children. At first this garden was on life support with a special-needs child and all the baggage that carried, i.e., practically living at the hospital, sleepless nights for the first few years due to illness, work/family demands on time, etc. Ours was a marriage on the edge of divorce because it was becoming impossible to agree on how to make our garden grow. Two sleep-deprived people trying to make it work wasn’t working.

But there was a plan from the very beginning. Someone had plans for us to thrive, prosper. They provided us a hope and a future but we weren’t grafted into the True Vine yet. We were surrounded and being choked by weeds, had no fertilizer and no Master Gardener to provide us the safety, protection and care of a Master Farmer.

I was having an allergic reaction to all the weeds and pollen. Our garden was growing wild, out of control, weeds everywhere, dirt impenetrable. After a while, I hated being in my garden. I tried to run away but was brought back home like a boomerang every time.

We needed to get grounded. We soon would discover that when we actually cared for our garden properly, it was teeming with life rich with nutrients, bugs and microorganisms required to sustain a long, healthy life.

Boricua Confidential chronicles my new life as a single mom of two kids after my husband died from medullary thyroid cancer on our son’s seventh birthday in 2006. Join me on this journey of change, revival, reformation, discovery and new direction ordered of God.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.