I have put off gardening long enough. Excuses have been somewhat reasonable: pregnancy with twins, newborns, toddlers, and not much money to buy plants and mulch. There is so much work that needs to be done to our aging house and I have also used this as an excuse to neglect our plant beds. When we bought our house, there was a small garden in the backyard with large red tomatoes, red and green bell peppers, and yellow squash. Unfortunately, I was 5 1/2 months pregnant when we moved into this house and I did not have the energy or capacity to lean over and tend to the garden. In the past year, tending to the beds in our front yard has been on my mind yet I have been putting it off and still making excuses. In our previous house, I was often in the yard pulling weeds and planting new flowers yet I have let the importance of gardening diminish in my homemaking. Lately, I have been reading The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer and as I came across the section titled "Gardens and Gardening" I became convicted.
"Neighbours, friends and strangers walking by ought to find the Christians' gardens, farms, estates, schools, hospitals, huts, missions and factories, surrounded by beauty of grass, moss, rocks, ferns, bushes, trees, flowers and vegetables, planted and cared for with an expression of originality and artistic planning on some scale. A Christian individual or organization should not move into a property and turn it into shambles. The opposite should be true. It should grow and blossom into a place of beauty, demonstrating something of the wonder of the One who made plant life to produce seeds in the first place. Christians should have more beautiful gardens, should be more careful to build without cutting down the lovely trees, should be more sensitive about keeping the brook unspoiled as it bubbles through their lands." (pg. 88)
This house was surrounded by well-kept flowers and vegetables and we let it go to "shambles". Our next door neighbor, Jay, mows 5 or more neighbors lawns and has the best looking yard and plant beds on the street. He even mows our lawn once in awhile and here we are letting our yard go to waste. We could be showing him what it means to be faithful stewards of God's creation by keeping our yard well-kept. What a Christian example we are!
I finally went to the store two days ago and bought plants, flowers, and mulch. Today I took the kids outside with me as I pulled weeds, trimmed our one bush, and prepared the beds for the plants. As we were outside, Jay came out and gave me a drink, gave the kids Capri Sun, gave Noah a candy cane (haha!), and then brought out wipes for the kids' sticky hands. I know he is happy that we are finally gardening. He has given Brenden a rake for the leaves and weeds, transferred his flowers to one of our beds, offered to till our main bed, and has provided tips to maintain a weed-free garden. Tending to our yard has brought us somewhat closer to our neighbor and will hopefully show that as Christians we do care about Christ's creation. Edith Schaeffer believes that wherever you live, whoever you are, there is an opportunity to beautify your home. However small or however large, it is important to have some sort of plant life growing so we and others are reminded of God's beautiful creation. Gardening teaches us, disciplines us, rewards us, and is even able to be used as an evangelistic tool. I cannot wait until I can stand in front of our yard and be proud of my hard work. And I will be even prouder that it is God's beautiful creation.