“Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets is back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.” May Sarton
Patience. ‘Tis a virtue to be sure, but one loved by few (at least in my observations). What patience requires is more than we often want to give. Watching, waiting, looking, longing, hoping, staying, wishing, more waiting…
So often I have been in a holding pattern, waiting to see what was coming around the bend. Over the years, I think of those times when I was feeling stressed, maxed, tired, worn and I remember going out to the garden, in whatever pitiful state it was, just to see what had grown. I would pinch back the dead-heads, prune the branches that were holding back the rest from reaching true potential, and try to determine what was needed in order to help the plant thrive.
Sometimes, the plants died. It wasn’t for lack of attention, usually. Sometimes, I bought them in a sad state, hoping to revive them. Sometimes, the conditions just weren’t right.
I have thought on this a lot lately. How often we fear the unknown because sometimes, the result is not good. Sometimes, we pour ourselves into something, investing our whole heart and in the end, we feel like we failed. That is what the risk is in anything. It may fail. But without ever trying, it could never be possible to succeed.
The days I stumble upon the spot where I planted my rosemary only to find my chickens devoured it, along with all of my hosta, and feel disappointed that something else I nurtured has died, I look farther along the way to see the echinacea I planted over a year ago in bloom. It took longer than I thought, but it was a surprise blessing I didn’t expect to succeed; to ever grow. Patience.
Seeing a friend determinedly remain constant in the face of adversity, seeing debt paid down little by little, knowing that the journey will be worth it in the end…requires patience.
…seeing the flower finally bloom, the vines produce fruit, the beauty not born overnight…
Anything that requires it truly is an instrument of grace.
Romans 5:3-5NCV “We also have joy with our troubles, because we know that these troubles produce patience. And patience produces character, and character produces hope. And this hope will never disappoint us, because God has poured out his love to fill our hearts. He gave us his love through the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to us.”