The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.” Isaiah 40:8 (NIV)
Over the years, I spent a lot of time gardening. I built a large three level pond with water lilies surrounded by native plants. I also planted a butterfly garden at the back of our house. It was filled with milkweed, porterweed and other things that butterflies love. Lots of butterflies flitted among the bushes. I enjoyed my roses the most. At one point, my rose garden held fifty-six bushes. I loved being able to pick a large bouquet and bring it indoors or give them away to people who needed a lift. Some of my most pleasant times were in my rose garden. I worked almost every weekend weeding, pruning, fertilizing or watering. In fact, when I realized how much time I was out there, I chose one person or group to associate with each bush. Then, when I worked on that bush, I prayed for their needs. For example, Fragrant Cloud was for our church and I prayed that everything we did would be a fragrant offering to God. Another bush called, Electron, was for a college student studying to be an engineer. I loved being able to spend time on my knees weeding and praying. It was a calming way to focus on what was really important. But, after I bought a horse and even more so after we built a barn and I brought him home, I had less and less time for my gardens. The pond turned green and nasty, and the pump burned up trying to filter the water. In the butterfly garden, you could hardly tell the weeds from what was supposed to be there. Worse was my rose garden. Without food and water on a regular basis, the bushes stayed scraggily and short and rarely bloomed. When they died, I tried replacing them with antique roses that do not need as much care. Even those struggled for existence. I did not have the heart to replace them knowing that I could not give them the time that they needed to thrive. By the end of this summer, I knew I needed to make a choice about the yard. I began moving the roses that still lived into one small bed in the front of the house. I cried as I did so. Life brings change and there is only so much time in the day. While I love my new hobbies of writing and horseback riding, I still hated to let go of that cherished part of my life. Today was the final day. We moved one little pond to a bed at the back of the house along with my arbor and garden bench. I will still have some small gardens to enjoy, but they will be more manageable. As I watched husband plow up the area where my gardens used to be, it made me think. Is what I am doing now of eternal importance? I only have a little time to spent and want to make sure I am investing in things that will last.