By the time this article goes to print, the new jail facility issue will have been voted on, and for that reason, I will change my focus for this week’s article, although it does have some relevant points. Whether it moves forward or not, I just want to thank all those who continue to be a part of this crucial resource for our community.
Growing up, my mother instilled the love of gardening in all of her six children. While I am sure it was a way to get us out of the house and serve as a means to expend our overwhelming energy, and maintain her sanity, it was also the basis of great life lessons. Beyond the obvious of hard work, patience and appreciation for the delicate balance in nature, it taught me a lesson that wasn’t apparent until many years later. It is the lesson of relationships.
Each one of us is solely responsible for creating our own reality, and I will refer to that reality as our garden. It is up to us what we want in that garden. We decide what relationships we want in our own personal lives by how we treat that garden. Just as I don’t particularly like having certain vegetables in my garden, I can also choose the relationships that I welcome into my reality.
The first step is to make sure our garden has healthy soil. Are we positive, optimistic, compassionate, giving? If so, that is some good soil to plant the seeds of relationships. If not, we must first attend to our own wellbeing so that we can in fact accept and nurture the seeds we are about to plant. Once we plant the seeds of relationships, we must continuously and diligently attend to those relationships, otherwise they will go dormant very quickly, and most likely not even sprout. We must also be careful not to smother or overwhelm them as that too will result in damage to the seed. Just as in a garden, certain types of soil serve to nurture certain vegetables. I would say that this type of soil is not open to diversity, and therefore must seek to broaden its composition so that it doesn’t inadvertently starve those vegetables that would make our garden truly magnificent.
As is the case with the cultivation of our garden, we too must cultivate our relationships. Too often the weeds of toxicity, rumors, misunderstandings, pride, or envy can choke out those newly planted seeds and keep them from their full potential. But once we have established deep meaningful roots, and a healthy plant, the weeds themselves are unable to overcome the established relationship between soil and plant.
Beyond, the risk of an uncultivated or unattended garden, there still remains the challenges and risks that come from outside our garden, no matter how hard we try to nurture it. Just as the deer, rabbits, or birds can prey upon your garden, there are those that will prey upon your relationships. While you can try to build fences, or impediments to avoid such risks, you must be careful that those precautions don’t in turn keep you from attending to the very plants you are trying to protect. My point is, that having relationships come with risks, and sometimes we risk the lose of those relationships to unforeseen and uncontrollable events. Even in those times of loss, we must go back to the garden, and be willing to plant new seeds. Although there may be times in the growing season where planting new seeds is not practical, in life, it is never too late to plant new seeds.
I hope this analogy helps to bring appreciation to the relationships that others have nurtured in us, and those we in turn work every day to sustain. Unlike our garden, our lives provide us only one chance to reap what we sow in those seeds that we plant. Let’s make sure to attend to our garden of relationships.