What Garden Are You Cultivating?
By Jeannette Webb
I live in an arid land that broke many people before they could tame it. My bookcases are filled with fiction by Midwestern writers that tell the stories of pioneer women who fought to bring a cultivated beauty to the wildness of the prairie. They would ration precious resources in order to water the flowers of their garden. Most spent a lifetime protecting and nurturing the little plot of land that brought a touch of beauty and civilization to their hard world.
The spirit of these women is still alive in those who now try to tame the prairie. My late neighbor was one of them – a certified Master Gardener who cultivated several acres of loveliness around her farm home. Brilliant color, climbing vines, flowering trees and bushes made driving by her home an event as well as a celebration of her artistry. But, the gardener died several years ago. Today her masterpiece is an overgrown jungle of weeds.
The prairie is relentless and will cover the garden plots and the graves of generations of valiant women until no one knows they were ever there. It got me thinking about how fleeting life really is. Scripture reminds us that it is a vapor, grass that withers quickly, a flower that fades.
The work of our hands will often die at our death or sometimes even before. Empty homes soon fall into disrepair. Architectural marvels can be bulldozed in a day. Businesses can fail overnight. A lifetime of sweat and toil and acquisition can be gone in the blink of an eye.
But there is a humble work that can transcend death or calamity. When we invest in others, we invest generationally. Let me give you some examples. I am a writer and have dreamed for years of writing an influential work, but, while I had children under my roof, I spent my time writing on their hearts. My garden often suffered neglect because I was focused on helping my children blossom. Instead of building an impressive home, I helped them learn to build things with their hands and develop skill sets.
My time and money was spent building people. As such, I invested into their future that will someday impact my grandchildren and great grandchildren that I may never meet. Years from now my garden plot won’t even be detectible under this prairie sod, but I believe my descendants will carry a precious, carefully created legacy.
What garden are you cultivating?
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