I love to garden. Gardens are a wonderful catalyst for thinking about God and his creation. There is a very good book that helps us to do this: God in the Garden: A Week-by-Week Journey through the Christian Year by Maureen Gilmer. Gilmer quotes Ralph Waldo Emerson, the nineteenth-century American essayist and poet: "What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered" (p. 83). I like that. We deem plants to be weeds when we play God, determining what will be inside the pale, and what will be outside. We impose our will on nature to make our own creation. That's not necessarily a bad thing (I attempt to do that all the time in my garden), but it is good for us gardeners, and for all people, to remain humble and reflective.
I also think of the saying, "Bloom where you're planted." There is a lot of sense in that saying which applies to many situations. Often we consign our lives to "what if," daydreaming rather than living, complaining rather than serving.
However, over the years I have also planted enough plants in the wrong place to know that this saying is not always the best advice. If you plant a rose in the shade, it will not do well, no matter how much it tries. It may limp along, but it will not thrive. So why should we remain where we do not thrive? Sometimes, our doing badly where we are is a not-so-subtle hint that we do not belong there. If we spend time in quiet prayer with God, we may hear Him telling us to pick up and go to where we can bloom--more particularly, to go where he is sending us. And then once we are there, to bloom. But unlike plants, we have legs, and God may tell us to pick up again a few years later or many years later to go elsewhere. The important thing is to listen to God and to do his will. "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening." Wherever He sends us, it will be for own good, so that we may become the person He created us to be, to bloom.
When We Begin to Understand Our Nothingness
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