May 29, 2012

Wishful Thinking: The Fertilizer of Disappointment

The gummy, difficult clay soil that plagues my region magnifies the nagging garden failures screaming from every corner of my yard: the half-eaten hostas; the yellow-leafed rhododendrons; and especially the blue-spruce ground cover my mom swore I could plant in gravel. “It grows anywhere. You can’t kill it!” 
Am I the only one who can’t grow the impossible-to-kill-plant? I blame it on the soil, but who am I kidding. So why do I get excited about Memorial Day plant sales and a beautiful day to work outside in the yard?
Like some hair-bent squirrel, I run around the yard digging holes and shoving poor little snippets of life in the ground, praying they survive in spite of me. I seriously wondered if it was heartless – maybe even tantamount to sinful -- to try planting anything again this year knowing full well the inevitable crucible of suffering it must bear!
Nevertheless, the holiday found me humming, and digging and planting away in my nasty unyielding clay-cursed soil. Did I take time to prep the planting area?  Nope.
Wishful thinking is the fertilizer of disappointment!
Still, a post-planting thorough watering eased my conscience and convinced me I was not guilty of subjecting these Green Beings to merciless agricultural ineptitude.
I’m in the “gardener’s honeymoon phase” right now. Checking the flower beds and watering my verdant little friends draws me outside early. This morning the soil still held the dampness of last night’s deep dousing, and a few large clay clumps caught my eye. When I gently compressed the softball-size clod, it easily broke apart in my hands. I was startled at the sheer joy that shot through me. I worked more clumps into delightfully dispersible little crumbs.
As the crumbled pieces fell back into the flower bed, I relished the feel of running my fingers through the surprisingly workable earth. The seedbed still isn’t what I want it to be, or what it needs to be to yield the best results. But it’s better than it was yesterday and far better than last year. With ongoing attention, my little garden beds will continue to get better until one day they boast the kind of rich, black soil I can’t wait to sink my hands into. The kind of soil that brings forth beautiful results and delights my heart.
In the meantime, no more wishful thinking! There’s work to do.

Father, please continue to prepare the seedbed of my heart. Help me yield to the work of your hands so that one day the results might bring you much joy.

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