Are You a Gardener?

Crape-MyrtleI grew up in New York City and after my Navy days I married my wife who grew up around a rural and suburban area in North Carolina. My wife taught me to appreciate the beauty of nature as we worked on our yard planting bushes, trees and flowers. She inherited that love from her mother. One day she was pulling up all the dead growth in our yard and putting it all in a pile. Her mother came to visit us and walked over to the pile of dead plants she had pulled up.
Her mother reached into that pile and pulled out a small sick looking Crape Myrtle tree. She said, ‘why is this here?’ My wife said, ‘that ugly tree is half dead.’ Her mother mentioned that there was nothing wrong with that tree so she took it home with her when she left.
About two months later we happen to be visiting her mother, my wife and I were walking around her lush, lovely yard. We were shocked when we came across the tree that she had gotten from us. Her mother had given this tree plant food and pruned off the dead growth. This tree now had a lot of new growth, and was looking like a healthy tree again. We visited her mom a few times per month and always made it a point to stop by that tree to see how it was doing. We were always shocked by what a beautiful tree it turned out to be especially because we thought there was no hope for it. My wife’s mom has a gift for creating a nurturing environment for plants and her lovely garden and flowerbeds are proof of that. She got much of that knowledge from many years working in a garden shop.
I have come to see that when it comes to people, we are not much different than the tree that my mother in-law saved from the pile of dead weeds. Some of us have been fortunate enough to be born into a nurturing environment that feeds our personal growth and allows us to turn into that strong tree pointed at the sky, reaching upward toward new possibility.
Some people have been born into environments filled with weeds which choke off the nutrients. Other people have been yanked out of the ground and tossed onto the pile of dead weeds. I believe that there is something amazing about a human spirit that occurs nowhere else in nature. I believe that we as men and women are not only the trees and flowers of this earth, but we also have the capacity to be the gardeners of our own life if we choose to do so. I believe this is the way that God made us. You are already the tree in your life, have you also chosen to be the gardener?

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