I got my start in gardening and loving the outdoors at a young age. “Whatcha planting?” had to be some of my first words. In this photo, I’m four and half years old and dragging a rake in the yet-to-be planted garden behind our house. (The photo angle makes me look taller than I actually was . . . but I did inherit the tall genes from Dad’s side of the family). On the back of the photo, my mom wrote: “Beth trying to work in the garden in early March. Wanted Winky [our rat terrier dog] in this picture. But she wouldn’t stand still.”
Gardens and dogs. Planting and pets. How fun to know that my love for these two interests took root when I was a just preschooler. I loved helping my parents plant our garden each spring. Later, I would eagerly watch for the little sprigs of green to nudge up through the ground. One of my favorite parts of gardening was asking Mom and Dad, “Hey, whatcha planting?” and them letting me plop seeds in the carefully dug rows.
No Need to Look Far
I also delighted in imitating my dad using a hoe to chop out the weeds that would inevitably crop up around the rows of vegetables. A few weeks ago when I planted my colorful annual flowers, I thought about the importance of what we sow in life. Are we planting seeds of discord, impatience, or grumbling? Are we sowing negative thoughts or tossing seeds of gossip along our daily path?
In our country today, we do not need to look far to see people planting seeds of angst, unrest, and violence. I wonder what those seeds will produce in the long run. Personally, I believe it’s better to be wise about the quality of the seeds we plant. It’s also best to actively pull up invasive weeds that attempt to overtake the good in life.
Our Invitation Every Day
The apostle Paul in the New Testament’s Galatians 6:7-9 summarizes the essentials of what we plant in our relationships, jobs, social life, hobbies, and more. “. . .What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life. So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit.”
Our invitation every day is to be mindful about the seeds we’re planting throughout our minutes and hours. Maybe this means we are countercultural and temper our churning opinions and indignant reactions. We can still voice what is right and true and stand up for injustices without destructive means and weed planting.
Maybe if we were looking at our own weeds of criticism, comparison, and complacency (and so much more!) that seem to crop up out of nowhere, we’d create more peaceful beauty around us.
So let’s never tire or give up doing good and harvesting a “good crop.” And, feel free to ask me anytime, “Hey, whatcha planting?”