Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Growing Mud in My Garden

By Brenda Black

Mary, Mary, quite contrary – How does your garden grow? With mud to the knees and pools and ponds. And globs of goo all in a row.

I missed the ONE sunny, planting day this “spring.” I thought there would be more. Boy, was I wrong! It feels more like London in October than Missouri in April this year. The May flowers that are supposed to bloom following April showers, may have to arrive by boat if the sun doesn't wake up soon.

The few days she peeked her bronzed face through dreary skies offered slim opportunity. On those sparse occasions, the wind blew with such gale force, had I attempted sowing seed, I'd be harvesting lettuce half a mile down the road in a few weeks.

This was the year I planned to go all out. With grocery prices sky-rocketing, I hoped to live off the land and stop paying for gas at the pump, as well as the produce stand. Surely the sun will shine soon and I can proceed with the seed. And when the sun comes, the old timers say we'll go from soggy to crispy in a heartbeat. Aha! No wonder Mary is so contrary. Missouri mud can turn to concrete in a hurry.

So what's a gardner to do?

Watch and wait. Plant and pray. And count it all blessing.

Though inconvenienced by mud and overcast days, I am not one of the 318,000 Japanese homeless following the March tsunami. Neither am I among our neighbors much closer who are getting hammered in the Ozarks with high water. While food prices rise, God provides; and I am nowhere near the point of hunger like 925 million other people around the world, including 19 million in developed countries. “Only a stomach that rarely feels hungry scorns common things,” said the Roman philosopher Horace.

When I feel like whining and complaining over the little muddy aggravations in life, may I be silent and mindful of all that is good and right and beautiful. Contrariness is a choice – so is gratefulness. Besides, a thankful soul is a sign of higher intelligence said writer G.K. Chesterton. “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”

I love that! And I agree. The smartest folks I know are thankful and happy.

Mary, Mary, extremely thankful. How does your garden grow? With spring time rains and ponds so full. And mud to squish between my toes.

You see, there is a sunny, silver lining beyond the clouds, visible only to those who scan the skies with gratitude. View the world as poet Ralph Waldo Emerson saw it – with appreciation: “For each new morning with its light, For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, for love and friends, For everything Thy goodness sends.” A thankful heart is a gift from God.

When the bottom falls out and the mud is up to the hip, deep roots help us keep our wits.”So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” (Colossians 2:6-7)

Sunny dispositions are possible even in the rainiest of seasons. Remember, a dreary attitude is up to you. So tell me: How does your garden grow?

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