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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Lessons from the Garden

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Aya Fubara Eneli

Aya Fubara Eneli

My happy place is a garden. It’s a place of solace, simplicity, honesty, beauty and profound revelations. More than any other place, it is where I most clearly hear from and see God in action. There are many lessons to learn from a garden.

It has been said that if one doesn’t work, one should not eat either. The garden certainly reinforces this philosophy regarding work. If you ever see a thriving garden, you can bet your last dollar that someone has been working very hard to make it so. I am yet to see anything worth having that does not require diligent effort. From tilling, to planting, to fertilizing and weeding, to staking and pruning, and on to the harvest, a garden teaches the importance of hard work.

Gardening teaches patience. Last week, I tilled up my vegetable garden and put down yards of organic compost. My younger children were excited and made a list of what vegetables they wanted us to cultivate. They helped me plant a few seeds and then got bored and left. I toiled for a few more hours. Later that day, as they examined the bare mounds and rows of dirt, they exclaimed, “Where are all the vegetables? Didn’t you plant?” I had to remind them of the process of germination. When I told them some of the seeds will take 10-21 days to sprout, they were incredulous. “21 days? Why so long? When will we have strawberries? 100 days to harvest? That’s too long!” But good gardeners know and respect nature’s process. First you plant, then you tend, then you wait. You never harvest on the same day you plant. Gardeners learn to be patient with the process.

Gardening is a great exercise. On a very practical note, gardening is great exercise. Per the Fitness Blender, “When you do this kind of physical labor, you carry out a wide variety of movements that most definitely burn calories, and may even tone. Depending on what kinds of projects you are tackling in your yard, you could be squatting, lifting, digging, or covering a fair amount of distance with your many steps. Finding physical activities that you enjoy are key to maintaining a healthy weight throughout your lifetime, and this hobby is a perfect example of that scenario for many people.” I was reminded of this truth when I realized, I had been working in my yard and garden for over 5 hours at a stretch. The next morning, I felt soreness in my legs, arms, core and back. It felt like I had been lifting weights at the gym. Nothing like multi-tasking – I cleaned up my yard, planted a garden and got toned all at once.

Gardening teaches us to observe and take timely action. Years ago, I was weeding my garden when I noticed a plant that seemed to have sprung up overnight. It didn’t look like any other plant in my garden, but that year I had attempted to plant vegetables that I had never cultivated before. I decided to leave the healthy plant to see what it would produce. A couple of weeks later, that plant was the biggest thing in my garden. I still couldn’t tell what it was, but I left it in. a week later, the plant was taller than me and I could see it was producing flowers which could go to seed. I sought out the advice of my neighbor who was a great gardener herself. She immediately identified it as a very invasive plant that would take over my garden if I let it seed. I immediately went to work to get it out of my garden. Wouldn’t you know that after hacking it down, it took another two hours of exertion to get out its root ball. I was amazed at how extensive its root system was. I also learned a valuable lesson. If you want a great life, pay close attention and quickly uproot anything that is not what you want. The sooner you act against the “weeds” in your life, the less pain it will take to confront those weeds and the damage they are bound to cause.

One of the things I appreciate most about gardening is enjoying the solace of communing with nature and God. I don’t wear gloves when planting and I love the feel of the dirt in between my fingers and sometimes, my toes. I love the messages I hear from God as he reminds me that he is the master gardener and seeks to tend my life as carefully as I tend my plants. He assures me that I was already created for great works even as it is already in the DNA of my plants to produce fruit also. He encourages me to entrust my life to him even as I depend on him to provide the sun, air and ensure my plants grow. I always leave my garden humbled and refreshed.

As we herald Spring and the planting season, there are so many lessons that we can learn and apply to our lives. The chief of which is this; there is seed time and harvest time. Be sure to plant while you can.

Aya Fubara Eneli is a best-selling author, Christian Life Coach, Motivational Speaker and Attorney. For daily success tips, “Like” her page at www.facebook.com/ayaeneli and join her community of individuals motivated to be their best. For more information, visit www.ayaeneli.com, follow her on twitter @ayaeneli or e-mail her at info@ayaeneli.com.

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