Wednesday, September 3, 2014


I look around my garden and joyfully find fruits of all kind ready for my tasting pleasure.  Tiny gold cherry tomatoes, (yes, gold!) round lemon cucumbers hiding under winding vines alongside colorful marigolds, and even ripe luscious blackberries lay lazily draped across a black rod iron trellis.  I've been at this gardening venture for just a few years and it seems my efforts and accumulating knowledge are finally starting to pay off.  I breathe a sigh of satisfaction as I bite into a sweet, vine-ripened tomato and for a split second it's tempting to take all the credit.
But, that would be a lie.
The truth is all gardens begin with a dream and effort, but there are so many other mysterious, unforeseen events which will ultimately determine the results.  Despite my desire to control the outcome, the reality is that I am not the captain of my fate.  I am not the grand decider. How it turns out in the end isn't all about me.
The plan I have designed and worked so hard to achieve may not succeed.

     And that can be a tough pill to swallow when you consider that to even start a garden requires energy and time to cast a vision.  Before you can even sow your first seeds you have to decide just exactly what you hope to grow.  Something as simple as, what would I truly enjoy eating comes into play.  What can I realistically grow?  As much as I'd love one, a banana tree isn't going to thrive in my snowy climate.  I have to make  a reasonable plan, and this takes time.  Then on to the back-breaking work of preparing and enriching the soil. Effort explodes. At this point, I’m all in, and for a split second it seems as if my fate is in my hands.
I carefully plant.  I faithfully water.  I fertilize to give my baby plants nutrients to grow on.
I hope, and wait to see if the plan will yield the harvest of my dreams.
The truth is though there are so many things totally out of my control. Things that could destroy everything and make my garden dream an epic fail. Hailstorms, wind, pests, unusual weather, the list goes on.  Sometimes, just the plant itself is not intrinsically healthy to begin with, and no matter how hard I try to coax it to life it will not grow.
There’s a life lesson that applies across the board if I’m willing to see it-- sometimes no matter how hard you try to create something, it just isn't going to work and you are in for disappointment. You can give something everything you’ve got and it still may not work out.  
I recently ran into a friend--my garden whiz girl-- who is known for her lush, large summer vegetable garden. She has more knowledge on gardening than anyone I know, and if anyone knows how to create a successful garden, it's her.
Curious to know if all her vegetable plants were thriving  (as some of mine were not) I asked her, "Did all the vegetables  in your garden grow equally well this year?"

Her answer stunned me.   "They were all eaten.  We have no vegetables left in our garden," she said surprisingly dryly.
"What?" I stammered.  "Eaten by what?"
"We weren't sure.  We have gophers near our home.  I came out one day and the entire garden was gone."
Gone?   Epic fail.  Total disappointment? And this to an expert who definitely did  everything right.  

The hard truth of life is that we can give our hearts and souls to something in near perfection, only to have it fail.  

      However, I've also come to see there is a silver lining in this hard truth.

When we are not the ultimate decider of everything we are also free from the burden of bearing the responsibility for everything.  

The good news, dwelling among uncertainty and the possibility for failure, is actually freedom and peace. 

If I'm willing to embrace my lack of control then I can begin to celebrate the freedom it offers me. If I cannot make everything turn out the way I wish then I am free from blame, fear, and insecurity.  

There will always be a part of the equation that contains unknowns, mysteries, and God's hand. A part that contains so many things out of my control. 

I can only do my small part and accept the ending is not mine to write. The outcome is always going to be uncertain, but if I allow myself to see the gift in this truth I can embrace the ensuing freedom and claim the accompanying gift of peace. 

Unexpected predators may steal our dreams.  And while that stings, we can shrug our shoulders, move on, and decide to cast a new vision.  Sow some new seeds for the next season.  And hope for a different outcome.
One summer we may gleefully discover exotic gold cherry tomatoes on the vine, round yellow lemon cucumbers peeking out from under a leaf, and ripening blackberries waiting for us to pick.
And when we do find these delightful gifts we must savor the moment.  Enjoy the harvest.  And get ready to cast another vision for the next season of life, always knowing that I am not the decider and I am free.  


  1. Your garden makes me jealous. Please just come be my neighbor, I will welcome you with open arms with the fruits and veggies you will share with us. Great message as always very heart felt. Love you. Dar&Stephen. WGATAP

    1. Well, we have mutual backyard envy. Yours is like an elegant park, but one I can also swim at! Thanks for the encouragement!

  2. I am so in love with this. It's tough for me to let go and let God work in me. I need to be more aware that God is the ultimate decider. Wow what a relief! Knowing that maybe being uncertain is not a bad thing, but something that can bring me freedom and peace like you said. Thank you for sharing.