Oh sweet summertime, how I love thee with all of your sunshine, long days, warm nights, lightning bugs and fresh veggies.
I adore fresh summer vegetables. I wish I had a vegetable garden-like really bad! I can’t garden. I wish I could. Plants come to die in my guardianship. My dad used to be a wonderful gardener. He was always up early on Saturdays tending the garden. He lovingly made sure there were no weeds, insects, wild animals, and especially parasites attacking the garden. He would make sure the garden was watered, fertilized, and draining properly. The better a garden is tended, the more beautiful and bountiful the harvest.
I do remember one summer evening, my parents had a dinner party. Right after grace, one of my mom’s friends shrieked. You see, her bun was MOVING. Right there on her burger, a little green worm was taking a stroll with the lettuce and trying to make an escape. We all got a good laugh. Tend the garden.
My grandmother had legitimate hate towards bunnies and squirrels-ESPECIALLY squirrels. She blamed every half eaten vegetable, rose and plant on those darn squirrels. I have a picture of her with a BB gun on the prowl for those little rats with tails.
She was tending her garden.
This same squirrel hating grandmother and my darling grandfather built a lake house many moons ago. It has been a family retreat. It is a tiny, quaint cabin on the lake. I have the best memories of growing up there with a gazillion cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends. Over the years, the lake house, affectionally named The Beehive, has passed hands-always in the family. Currently, my husband and I own it. Admittedly, we have not spent much time there over the years with growing our family, moving out of state and the like. Not to worry, there is always a family member willing and ready to spend a weekend there and make sure everything is in working order.
Well, we recently moved (again), and sent a very full storage pod to The Beehive.
Because the tiny little cabin was overflowing, it did not have any visitors this past year. We finally set aside two weeks to go, sort through boxes, donate furniture that was no longer needed, unpack and make sure our little cabin was in good working order. Now, I’m going to spare you some gosh awful details here, but…when you leave a home untended for a year, let’s just say nature takes over.
We arrived to find that squirrels, raccoons, termites, and you name it had taken up residence in The Beehive.
I can’t tell you the destruction that we faced from the roof, ceiling, AC vents, crawlspace, attic etc. We spent the next two weeks doing the dirty, and I do mean dirty, work of ripping out, replacing, repairing, dumping, and donating almost everything. I kept thinking what the Lord was trying to show me. It was bad, y’all.
Tend your garden kept coming into my subconscious.
By the time the two week “experience” was over, I got it. My soul is my garden. It has to be tended. It has to be watered, nourished and protected lest the pests, parasites, and weeds take up space.
I am convinced that Jesus was (not so) gently nudging me to look at this from a point of my soul and my faith journey. Spending time in Sacred Scripture, prayer, adoration, and frequenting the sacraments are all tangible ways that I can tend the garden of my soul. I saw a very real and ugly example of what can happen if I neglect my soul.
Tell me how you tend the garden of your soul?