Saturday, July 4, 2009

Mailboxes and Circles

Summer is time to grow.

I gave up on vegetable gardening years ago when I finally wised up and realized my piddly attempts at producing food only went to bugs and rot. Man, am I bad at vegetable gardening. But I love flower gardening. Mostly perennials. I'm too cheap to put much money into annuals even though I love seeing splashes of color blooming everywhere. I compromise by buying two eight packs of flowers and planting them in the most strategic places for impact and visibility. Kind of like putting up a good front so people think I do a lot when I really don't. But that sounds like a different post.

Anyway, the annuals are divided between my mailbox and a circle planter close by. I try to get them off to a good summer with plant starter and water and all the things petunias need to thrive. Here's where my annual lesson begins.
You see the same pack of flowers, started with the same care, planted only about 20 feet apart take on a very different life. The flowers in my circle planter are already four times bigger than their sisters at the mailbox. It's frustrating.

The mailbox is surrounded by heavy, tough soil. It is full of clay and rocks and gravel from the road and sits on a slope. Water is hard to hold. The nutrients the flowers need are just not there, but the weeds certainly are. I have to carry water to those flowers every day in the peak summer heat and fertilize much more often. I cover it with mulch, but it doesn't seem to stay. Those brave little blooms have to fight for their life.

The circle flowers on the other hand have it so much easier. I wonder if it makes the mailbox flowers jealous. I get that way sometimes. They have fertile black soil full of earthworms, they are covered in a deep layer of bark mulch and get water when I run the lawn sprinkler. What a cushy life. They are naturally surrounded by everything they need and hardly have to work at flowering.
God teaches me with these flowers. I want to be prolific for Him. Thrive and bloom profusely. I'm like these petunias. More often than not, my life has been at the mailbox. Planted in places that are tough to hang on to my identity and grow. Even harder to blossom. It has been, at times, very frustrating and tiring to say the least. Come on, I want to have the life of the circle flowers. I get it sometimes when I think God knows I need a reprieve. But, back the mailbox I go.

God shows me through caring for my flowers, how important it is to feed my soul. I need daily water through His word. I need regular nourishment through church and fellowship. The tougher it gets the more important this is. For some people in the bible God seemed throw all kinds of support their way. David had Jonathan. Ruth had Boaz. Others like Job and Jeremiah had to fight harder.

I watch for mailboxes and circles. People who cross my life and are living in the mailbox rocky hard soil. They need water. On the other hand, it is easy to forget to care for the circle flowers. I should not overlook circle people believing they have everything they need. It may look like it from the outside, but they still need care.

My struggling puny blooms from the rocky mailbox are just as precious to God as copious cascades of readily produced flowers. Whether I'm at the mailbox or the circle, my job is still to bloom to the best of my ability.

There is a way for each of us to be in the circle, for each of us to thrive. Put the right nutrients into the mix-daily time with God and nurturing relationships. Let's put that into other lives. Let's be a circle.

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