Our garden continues to teach me about life.
This week Mick and I had the rare opportunity to work in the garden together. We tilled up the rows that flooded and prepared to mound them like the rows of mounds that not only survived the heavy rains, but thrived in them.
We decided to do three rows of alternating mounds with the center row offset from the other two. Mick and I began working simultaneously. I envisioned us working side by side in rhythm down the length of the garden, but I quickly became frustrated. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get my mounds in the right place or to the right size. I seemed to be working twice as hard as Mick and accomplishing half as much.
Now, just the day before I had successfully completed a neat row of mounds all on my own at the other end of the garden, so my frustration wasn’t from a lack of ability or an insufficiency of knowledge on how to mound a row. This fact only fed the fury in my mind.
I carefully copied Mick’s method, starting where he started, hoeing at his pace. I kept comparing my efforts to his, but he was consistently faster and my mounds were consistently out of place.
I gave up and walked away to pull weeds and blow off steam.
Once I had cooled off a bit, I returned to my hoe and stepped up to survey the garden. Instead of trying to align myself with Mick and copy his way of doing things, I placed myself at the intersection of row and row. With my center thus aligned, I began to work at my own rhythm from my own starting point. I looked not at how my companion was working, but at how my work compared to the center line by which the final product would be measured.
When I finished that mound and stepped back, I saw beautifully shaped work well in line with the other beautiful mounds. I had gone about it my own way, but the end result was just as good as anything my husband had achieved. We continued working not in rhythm, but in syncopated harmony, and the end result was a beautiful pattern of good soil ready to receive seeds.
I thank God for these humbling, rich life lessons from our garden. Comparison is costly, but keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus will keep my work in line.