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Growing the Soul: Meditations from My Garden [Secure eReader]
eBook by Delia Touchton Halverson

eBook Category: Spiritual/Religion
eBook Description: Gardening is one of the most popular pastimes, and for many, it serves as one of the primary ways to focus meditation. This eBook contains 52 meditations centered around the garden and aspects of gardening. with a brief meditation, questions for thought and reflection, and a brief prayer. The meditations include themes and topics including: Gardens create friendships; Gardens as sacred space; Gardens hold hidden joys; Gardens as holy leisure (otium sanctum); Gardens and Sabbath time; Gardens smooth out rough edges; Gardens recycle life.

eBook Publisher: Dimensions for Living/Dimensions for Living
Fictionwise Release Date: April 2005




1--Welcome to My Garden

Be sure to welcome strangers into your home. By doing this, some people have welcomed angels as guests, without even knowing it.—Hebrews 13:2

I would hesitate to guess just how many different types of gardens there are. It seems that every country has its own style of garden. Some gardens are in the midst of open fields and some are in courtyards hidden behind walls. Some gardens are formal affairs, with each plant carefully manicured and growing in its special place, and some are a hodgepodge of plants reflecting the gardener's whim at the time. Some contain only specific types of plants, such as rose gardens and herb gardens, and some are as varied as an artist's palette. There are desert gardens and water gardens, vegetable gardens and bonsai gardens. There are butterfly gardens, and even gardens planted specifically for deer.

In addition, each person who develops a garden makes it uniquely his or hers. There is an unusual garden that I pass by regularly. Each time I go by I see something in the garden that I hadn't seen before. It contains everything from a department store mannequin to an old dish antenna; from a rusted basketball hoop to a rocking chair with the seat missing. Shovels without handles parade along the border of one planting bed, and a child's plastic swimming pool is filled with numerous plants. You feel as if you know the owner by observing all of the strategically placed decorations.

Our family lived in the Dakotas for thirteen years. One of my favorite pictures that I discovered while living there was titled "The Prairie Is My Garden." In the picture a pioneer woman and child are gathering wildflowers in front of their simple home.

No matter what the style, I believe a garden must be made hospitable and welcoming in order for its plants to thrive. I cannot command and force a plant to grow. It is not my green thumb that makes this happen. But I can pull the weeds around the plant. I can provide water and fertilizer. I can make sure that plants have the appropriate sunlight. This hospitality to a plant allows it to reach out and stretch its roots.

Likewise, I cannot command the soul of a person to grow, but I can help create an atmosphere in which it can. Creating a hospitable garden also means preparing the surroundings so that others feel comfortable and can reach out to God and grow their souls. It is inviting; it says, "Come and rest awhile. Leave your cares behind and spend some time away." The garden may have secluded places where a person can seek solitude, but even those places say, "Welcome."

Whether your garden is several acres in size or simply a deck or patio with container plantings, it is important to make it hospitable. View it from another's perspective. Does it invite people into the space? Does it say, "You can find God here"?

Reflect

  • What gardens have you seen that were forbidden?
  • What gardens have you entered where you felt the presence of God?
  • How can you make your garden more hospitable and a ministry to share with others?

Pray

I thank you, God, for creating a welcoming world. Help me be hospitable to others by welcoming them into the gardens of my soul. Amen.

--Gardening Neighbors

We should try to live at peace and help each other have a strong faith.—Romans 14:19

A gardening friend is as precious as gold. But to discover a neighbor who has never gardened and who becomes a gardening friend is like discovering a rock that turns out to be a diamond! Such was the case in one community where we lived.

We purchased a house with nothing on the lot except the two small trees in front of the house that came with the landscape package. On one side was a tall fence, erected to contain a friendly dog named Lucky.

In the fifteen moves I've made in my adult life, I've always managed to take some plants from one garden to another, and this time was no exception. This move had involved a six-month period of "homelessness" while our house was built, but I'd found a temporary home for pots of plants in a friend's yard. Now they had a true home, and I began placing them at strategic spots around the yard.

Soon I discovered my neighbor experimenting with her first garden, and I shared some plants with her. She purchased more plants and shared with me. As the plants grew, our friendship across the fence grew. Along with our daylilies and milkweed seedlings, we were able to share our joys and sorrows. Sometimes it was only a word or two across the fence, and sometimes it involved longer conversations as we moved seedlings from one yard to the other. Through the years, as seedling trees became twenty-foot giants (this was Florida!) and butterflies flittered across the fence, our uncommon friendship became strong and true.

I firmly believe that God created us to be in community with one another. If that were not the case, we would be self-sustaining, like some animals. Although you occasionally run across a Robinson Crusoe, most of us find that we do better when we surround ourselves with friends we can depend on, friends to help us face life, and friends with whom we can grow.

I've found that gardening brings such friends together, as long as the gardens are based on friendships and not on competition.

Copyright © 2005 by Dimensions for Living


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