I'm not sure why, but this image has settled in my mind for the past couple of days. I took the photograph Wednesday afternoon, while sitting on the back porch during a light rain.
It's been a busy week, so I guess the tranquil scene helps put things in their proper perspective. It's a view that reveals our general approach to the garden - fairly free-form but within the context of carefully defined parameters. Out intention is to have a space that we can enjoy, that's fairly easy to manage, and that comprises mostly natural elements.
Rebekah's mother gave us the Cyprus tree when we moved in (October of 1996). It was literally the length and thickness of a pencil. As you can tell, it's done rather well over the years.
Neither one of like "fussy" gardens. They can be fun to look at in a magazine but I don't think they translate well to real life. You know the kind: manicured to the nth degree, sprayed with herbicide and pesticide, trimmed and mulched and weeded, watered three times a week even during the rainy season, missing grass replaced before even the home-owners association yard-nazis notice....
Sometimes I think our garden is a metaphor for our lives (I almost said, "spiritual lives", but I really can't make the distinction anymore between life and spiritual life).
- We're interested in growth - but not so much concerned about how tidy it is.
- We want to participate in life, but we're not going to dictate to life exactly how it's supposed to manifest.
- We want to glorify God - but we've gotten over our need to tell God exactly what that looks like, and how it's supposed to go down.
- We value order, respect and decorum - but we're fine with jeans in church, piercings, spiked hair, raised hands, occasional applause and raucous laughter.
- We're motivated to communicate to the world how wonderful this spiritual journey is - but we're not so much interested in browbeating the world into making their journey look exactly like ours.
The key to a peaceful garden is life, life that we can participate in and enjoy. The answer to the world's great need is the Jesus, the peace he brings and the life that he offers. We plant, we water, we lay the groundwork - but it is God who creates, God who grants the increase, and God who animates with life beyond our imaginations.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it (John 1:3-5).