Lost and Found
Last year my husband wrote a blog post that somehow, someway got lost in the shuffle of computer cyberspace and forgotten about. We found a hard copy that had been printed, tucked in a drawer recently, so I wanted to re-type it and send it out this week. I clearly understand that not only did this post miss the deadline for last year at daylight savings time, but it is also late for this year. I beg your forgiveness and ask for mercy in the timing portion, so grant patience – but the application of the content is still powerful. Travel back in time in your mind’s eye to springtime daylight savings on Sunday, March 13th, 2016.
This is from my husband Steve:
Gardening is a passion for so many people. I can only imagine what’s beginning to stir their hearts as the weather begins to warm up. I’m making these notes in early Spring. All next week the temperature is supposed to be in the 50’s and 60’s and this weekend it truly becomes official; the time changes.
When my wife heard that the other day, the first thing she said was, “I’ve got to get in my gardens. I swear she said it three times over and over as she started to get that look in her eye. “Spring forward” even sounds more dynamic and exciting than “Fall back”, and as busy as she is she will make time for flowers and herbs and all her vegetables. Speaking of looks in her eye, believe me, it’s not a good time or place to be a weed or vole, or any other creature that threatens her plants. That little woman can flat out wage war in her gardens.
I guess we are all that way towards the things we’re passionate about and I’m there to support her in any way that I can, because we are both deeply concerned about our own diets and the crippling impact our eating habits are having on our families, American culture and healthcare system. I can get passionately behind all of that, but I’m definitely on the outside looking in when it comes to the simple pure joy of getting your hands in rich dirt and working to plant. I love that about all you gardeners, and the beautiful things you grow. You don’t have to love plants to deeply appreciate those who grow them. Any man who has bought flowers to express his affection or maybe to help him out of the doghouse knows what I’m talking about. From the corner flower shop to large public botanical gardens, to apartment patios; from yards beautifully landscaped to the window sills in your home—you’re all responding to a giftedness as old as man; a primal, joyful impulse to plant; to cultivate and grow.
In her beautifully done book, In Search of Paradise, author Penelope Hobhouse researched the history of gardening and she wrote, “The story of garden design threads together four thousand years of cultural history and personal vision. Throughout history gardens have been refuges and sanctuaries; records tell of their abundance, comfort and beauty. From the oldest known gardens, to the most recent designs, garden making has offered evidence of humankind’s ongoing search for paradise.”
Now, you probably haven’t analyzed that growing a tomato, a carrot or a petunia would go quite that deep, and while I bet she’s probably on to something, you don’t have to go there to appreciate where I’m heading with all this garden talk. You see, we are all gardeners at heart, because each one of us cultivates an intensely personal internal garden; the garden of our minds.
When we consider the idea of our minds, we all understand that to be the home of all our thoughts. Because we can’t touch it, see it or physically walk through the garden of our minds, we can tend to marginalize it, but it is just as real as any garden in the world and this garden has a most profound impact on every area of our lives. I can think of no better analogy for the human mind than the vegetable gardens we plant every year. We all know that we are what we eat; well it is just as true that we are what we think.
I’ve said this before, but it is so foundational that it bears repeating; your mind is who you are; it is incredibly fertile ground and it will grow anything and everything planted there. I can’t over emphasize the truth and power of that fact.
Google the question “how many thoughts does the average person think every day?” The lowest number I found was 12,000 and the highest was 70,000. Just average that out and it comes to a whopping 40,000 thoughts each day. Think of each though as a seed with the potential to be planted in the most fertile soil on earth – the garden of your mind.
Every day, in a stream of consciousness, 40,000 thoughts flow through our mind. We entertain them; reject them or allow them to be planted and they become rooted in our spiritual DNA; encoded deeply into who we are. The implications of that are enormous. Our thoughts say a lot about who we are and who we will become due to one of the most powerful laws in the universe – the law of sowing and reaping. As surely as the sun follows the moon, you and I will reap the full harvest of every thought planted in the fertile garden of our minds.
In flower gardens, if you plant a rose you’re going to grow blooming roses. If you plant tulips, every Spring you’re going to enjoy tulips. If you plant tomato seeds, you won’t harvest carrots. You will raise and harvest exactly what you plant. So think deeply for a moment about the types of thoughts we plant in the garden of our minds; thoughts and seeds of joy, peace and tenderness; seeds of courage, honor and wisdom. We plant seeds of empathy, forgiveness and love, but we also think and plant seeds of bitterness, revenge or indifference; seeds of resentment, self-pity or hopeless despair. These seeds are guaranteed to grow and mature to affect our work, play and every relationship in our lives.
Sowing and Reaping
In your mind’s eye cast your vision across the span of human activity covering the globe today and you will be witnessing the harvest of all the thoughts of mankind. We reap what we think and our harvest is revealed in every decision we make, every word we speak, even every movement of our body language. Our thoughts are at the root of every action and reaction, in every moment of every day of our lives.
The more deeply I engage in this whole thought process, the more stunned I am at the implications, and I am going to explore. If you too continue to explore your thoughts, I guarantee it is a process that an profoundly change and deeply enrich all of our lives; and what an excellent time to do it. If you are a gardener, I know you; I’m married to one. It’s Spring and you’re getting excited. Whether you’re urban, suburban or rural, you love flowers, vegetables, berries and fruit trees. You love picket fences, stone walls, bird houses and fountains of water. You are keenly aware of the feel of the warm sun, the sound of birds singing and the bees buzzing. Like a moth to a flame, you’re drawn to the sights and the scent of life in the garden. As you enjoy working in your garden this Spring and Summer, let’s also turn or hearts and our thoughts to another fertile place of incredible hope and promise – the garden of our minds.
Let’s begin to stop taking that garden for granted and think deeply about who a loving God has created us to be and imagine all that could be planted in the fertile garden of our minds and harvested in our lives during the growing season to come. It will take hard work, including the diligence of weeding, fertilizing, watering and pruning on our way to an abundant harvest.
Have a fruitful day!