Thursday, July 19, 2012

Life Lessons From The Garden: Last Year's Garbage Can Be This Year's Harvest

I gardened some last year but my youngest daughter Hayley gardened more.  She was really into it.  She researched the best plants, bought organic seeds, built raised boxes for the plants, started them with a grow light inside and wound up with a veritable forest of tomato plants.  There were so many tomato plants and so many tomatoes I am still using frozen packets of tomatoes now a year later.  Because there were so many tomatoes some of them weren't even picked and rotted on the plants falling to the ground.

This year, Hayley's living in Kentucky so I'm on my own with the garden again and I'm doing okay but I can't say I've even come close to the prolific garden of tomatoes, she produced last summer.  I bought my tomato plants already rooted, planted and watered them and they're doing fine.  Here's the really interesting part of this story.  In the raised beds where Hayley planted tomatoes last year I've had several tomato plants simply volunteer.  They grew in a bed where I planted lettuce originally and when I saw them sprouting I wasn't sure if they'd survive.  However I've staked them up and nurtured them a bit and amazingly enough it looks like I will have tomatoes from last year's garbage.

There's a lesson in this for me.  Last year's garbage can become this year's harvest.  Seems obvious in gardening but I have found it to be a lesson in life as well.  Some of the most difficult times in my life have been a struggle to survive.  But in the midst of surviving, I've found that I can use what I've experienced and actually thrive later. I can site lessons learned, relationships renewed, deepened or established. I have learned things that can later become support for and shared with others. The last two years have been  particularly painful years for me in terms of family. I've experienced the death of my mother and stepfather and broken relationships.  Has anything good come out of this?  Although it was initially hard to see there has.  I have forged new relationships, strengthened old ones and trimmed toxic relationships from my life.  In addition to that I've written a book about finding and living out your calling.  I've definitely made a message out of the mess.  In the midst of adversity, I have learned to ask myself, "Where's the opportunity in this?"

What about you is there a message in the mess of your life?  What is the opportunity that may now be available to you?
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  1. That is something I always try to remember, Lynne - to look at adversity as opportunity. It isn't always easy, but keeping a positive attitude and relying on God to see us through the storms makes it so much more tolerable. And, I love the imagery of garbage turned to garden - great metaphor!
    Blessings to you, my friend!

  2. Martha--thanks for stopping by!

  3. It's often amazing how God arranges our lives so whenever we are in the midst or sorrow or "garbage" there is a wonderful surprise waiting somewhere in the midst. What a great place it would be if we could all learn to see the opportunity in the stuff that doesn't look promising.
    Great post as always, Lynne.

  4. Exactly Lynne, exactly! What a beautiful illustration. Even pain and suffering can yield a new harvest, depending on our perspective. Nothing is wasted when our sights are set higher. Good seeds planted never die, never!

  5. Thanks Debra for the comment. I especially like the part about never wasting anything. I do try to make use of all my resources... even when they are unexpected.

  6. A great post bearing an important message. I definitely think even the burdens or seemingly negative in life can be gifts as they can be sometimes our best teachers.

    I hope your garden bears abundant tomatoes and veggies this year!

  7. They are definitely teachers, Jessica if we are open to learning the lessons.

  8. "Last year's garbage can be this year's harvest."

    I needed to read this today, as I've been facing several months of garbage, it seems. I'll try to remind myself that today's troubles will provide valuable lessons and even opportunities tomorrow. Thank you!

  9. Just as in real life, there is no end to the garbage. The choice is what to do with it...