Starting fresh in the gardens

This fall, I plan to kill off a good percentage of my flower gardens with Round Up.  For the past couple summers, I’ve struggled with pests and fungus and disease, and I have a few ‘vigorous’ plants which have taken over and killed off prettier things, and a few of the perennials have gotten woody and ugly.

In other words, if the purpose of a flower garden is to look pleasing to the eye, my gardens have lost their purpose, and I need to start over from the beginning.

Of course, I don’t write about gardens, so I want to make an analogy here.  Surprise surprise.  And it’s a simple one about things in my life that might need a little Round Up applied, things that aren’t necessarily bad but have lost their purpose or gotten out of bounds, things that seem plagued by pests and disease and might need to be rethought from the beginning.

As a parent, I have to do this a lot.  There are a zillion things that can fill a child’s time, and the culture says children need to be well rounded, meaning they’ve dabbled in everything.  It can get crazy, and eventually the child’s garden becomes out of bounds, straggly, with odd flowers here and there vying for attention.  The garden no longer has a clear focal point, and it is no longer pleasing to the eye.  Sometimes a good can of Round Up is needed–kill off all the time consumers, look at the space with a new eye, and start all the plantings over again, this time with a little more purpose.  Less dabbling and more direction.

A few years ago we left a church after 15 years of attendance, and I struggle to be able to explain to people why we did.  We appeared to belong, and things appeared to be fine.  And in a way, they were.  But, as a family, our spiritual garden had lost something.  There were areas of weeds and pests, and things were no longer within bounds or serving their purpose.  We weeded and fertilized, but it was simply time to rip out the garden and start again.  Without making enemies or burning bridges, we set off to find another body, and God had one in mind that better fit our family–something small that needed the talents and gifts we had to offer.   We’re part of a new garden, and the spots for our flowers within that garden were empty.  Now we’re blooming where we’re needed again.

As a home school mom, I also see this a lot in school choice.  People shift their children from one type of school to another, and it’s a huge change sometimes, but it’s worth it to find the spot where the children and parents thrive the best, even if it’s not always easy to explain why.  But, when everyone in the garden is thriving, and the weeds and pests are under control, and there is a right focus, all the changes are worth it.

It’s never easy to change things.  And even with a can of Round Up, weeds still grow and straggly flowers still manage to come up.  But sometimes things in our lives need a real shake up, be it a physical situation or a spiritual one.  And for that, I’m all for taking up a can of Round Up and restoring the purpose and beauty of all the gardens that make up our lives.

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