The Garden Massacre: 3 Down Only 2 Survive

Last spring LeAnne inspired me to consider a garden…to allow our family to be a part of the process of plants growing and recognizing that our food does not originate from the grocery store.  Both my dad and granddaddy had a garden, and so I was familiar with this custom.   But knowing that the Cockerhams have the history of KILLING plants I was a little weary of such an undertaking.   Last year our garden constituted of several potted tomato plants and herbs.   They lived…and did their best to grow despite our black thumbs.

One of the cooler things that came from our garden was our compost pile.  This makeshift pile was actually a random pile in the backyard where Chris normally placed the grass clippings.  The compost pile slowly began to cut our waste in half.  I was shocked that between recycling and composting we were down to 1 lonely bag of trash per week?!?

Amazingly, this spring a long green vine began to grow from the compost.  Then another, and another.  Intrigued and inspired by a friends’ story of the “fruit” that grew from their compost–we decided to let it grow.  
It is entitled a Halloween Miracle.

Over the past month or so we have realized that we are growing what appears to be some sort of fantastic gourd or maybe even a squash or pumpkin?!  Usually plants that grow from the grocery store are “sterile” and do not produce fruit–but very clearly there are some big yellow squash-type-things doing work in our back yard.  Even more amazing, is that we had up to 5 “plants” growing at one time.  At closer inspection I realized today that only 2 actually had squash-like plants growing from them.  (And one was really struggling to survive.)   All of the vines made beautiful yellow blooming flowers–but 3 simply had no squash to show for all the fan fare.  Though I am an Indiana grown girl whose daddy had the prettiest garden in our midwest neighborhood–I really was clueless as to what to do until it hit me:  the other plants had to go!  

Could they eventually produce fruit?  Maybe.  But which ones?  And how long would I have to wait?  And how much love, water, and sunlight would they be stealing from the 2 plants that were working so hard to make it?  It became very clear that the competing plants were just that…competition.  They were sharing a small space with fabulously fertile soil (a rare commodity in NC)…and they were just sucking the very life out of the resources of the other plants.  I could pour a lot more time and energy in to trying to keep everybody comfortable–with the flowers bright and beautiful and appearing just as healthy as my squash producing plants.  But at the end of the day–3 out of my 5 plants were simply sterile.  

While attacking those beauties with my shovel–for me hacking apart a living thing is not an easy task–unless it is poison ivy.  It was especially bitter since I usually have the blackest thumb on the planet and to hack something beautiful and living knowing that it just might do something cool was simply painful for me…but I digress.   As I hacked–it became so very clear–the parallel that I live in my life.  I have SOOOOO many things competing for my attention, for my energy, time, resources.  I have so many things that I desire to pour in to…that I desire to grow and make beautiful.  On the outside it looks pretty good.  There is green, there is growth, there are even big bright beautiful yellow flowers that indicate something awesome could happen.  Yet…sadly for so many of the things that compete for my attention…like my plants…they are sterile.    Most days I live as the hopeful gardener attending to each plant and wishing and hoping for the best…only to neglect the one or two plants that are actually producing fruit…that are alive…growing and going to actually become something amazing.

But…wait for it…what if I kept all 5 plants growing?    What if I just kept feeding all 5 plants?  Sharing space…sharing soil…sharing all of the resources that I had equally?   I am almost certain that I would lose my sensational squash…or at best their growth would become stunted.  (I did not major in agriculture at NCSU–but from my backyard degree this appeared to be clear and the inevitable conclusion.)

So God got ahold of me as I shifted the compost and hacked up the other 3 plants.  He reminded me of the value of keeping life simple.  He reminded me to stop trying to keep all of my “life vines” alive only to forsake the ones that actually bear fruit.   I will wait and see what comes of this awesome biology experiment but if no edible fruit is produced I am convinced that there were awesome seeds that were planted in my heart today.   The Gardener drew my attention to the other “plants”.  He reminded me that even once I hack a few up, others will grow in my garden of life.  He showed me that they are not all “weeds” so to speak–terrible evils and obvious predators that only exist to steal my plants’ nutrients.  Sometimes they are mistaken beauties or just misdirected efforts.  These plants will take root (just the same) and I will have to ask the question of their relevance and watch closely to examine if they just look really pretty or if they are actually bearing fruit.   I will make the weighty decision of hacking or watering.   Either way–the visual is one that I am so very grateful for as I hope to not water simply to water…but nurture, attend to, and  cultivate the vines the Gardener has placed in my life to grow and produce real fruit.

May You Be a Blessing and May You Produce Real Fruit–


2 thoughts on “The Garden Massacre: 3 Down Only 2 Survive

  1. Some of life's greatest lessons I've learned of late, have been through God's use of the garden as it compares to my life. I love how you think and how God continues to slow you down and be intentional.
    What a beautiful analogy of leading a life that bears much fruit when we tend to those vines that He calls us to most.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s