As a whippoorwill calls out from one of the nearly century-old pine trees in the backyard, I smile, take pause, sip my tall cup of coffee – strong and black, no sugar – and continue my walk in the garden and a talk with God.
After my husband, Jeff, and I decided to remove about fourteen looming pines and hard wood trees from the backyard a few years ago, it opened up the area to inspiration and eventually uncovered the possibilities to an outdoor sanctuary and oasis.
A firm believer in bringing the outside in and creating year-round outdoor living space, a variety of perennials were planted, some existing plants divided and relocated, whimsical figurines were strategically placed, and a winding, white pea gravel path was poured to beckon one to take the road less traveled. I even fired up the chainsaw, cutting and carving an arched walkway through the enormous, pink azalea bush.
Together, we designed the perfect secret garden. A place for us to walk. A place to have our private talks with each other and God. A place to reflect, meditate and appreciate. A place to sow seeds of blessings, gratefulness, and love. A contemplative space.
And such is true in life.
Sometimes we need to remove the tall trees that block the sunlight from our lives – the ones that threaten to fall and crush whatever is in their path during the high winds of a storm. Sometimes we need to remove the low-lying brush and the ivy that winds around, strangling and smothering the joy and beauty from life. Sometimes when our path is blocked, we need to take a chainsaw to it and sculpt out a new one.
Place the right plants in the right locations, vary the variety, take care of them, water, nourish and feed them. Watch them bloom and grow.
Place the plants in the wrong locations, uniform in design, neglect, oppress and starve them of much-needed love and attention. Watch them wither and die.
And such is true in life.
How is your green thumb? When walking through the gardens of your life and having your private moments with God, are you taking the time to care, nourish, and appreciate the different species, expressing love for those around you?
Or, is your garden barren and abandoned? “Such is the destiny of all who forget God; so perishes the hope of the godless. What they trust in is fragile; what they rely on is a spider’s web. They lean on the web, but it gives way; they cling to it, but it does not hold. They are like a well-watered plant in the sunshine, spreading its shoots over the garden. It entwines its roots around a pile of rocks and looks for a place among the stones. But when it is torn from its spot, that place disowns it and says, ‘I never saw you.’” - Job 8:13 – 18 (NIV).
Plant smart, with endless pathways, for a garden with everlasting enjoyment your whole life long.
How have you designed your personal and spiritual garden? What does it look like when you walk through it?
About Katie Hart Smith
“Words, written or spoken, have power.” Katie Hart Smith’s column, “From the Heart,” touches the heart, inspires, entertains, and speaks to one’s heart and soul. With over 20 years of experience, Smith has written for a wide array of audiences. Her latest historical fiction novel, Aspirations of the Heart, has been placed in the Governor’s Mansion Library by Georgia’s First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Deal. To learn more about this Southern author, visit www.katiehartsmith.com.