Tend Your Garden
You are what you do and what you eat.
Because we came from the earth and will return to it, walking barefoot in our garden on the soft black loam feels spiritual—it connects us to our roots. Gardening benefits go beyond the bounty of eatables; the work is beneficial to life practices: physical, mental, emotional, and financial. We are blessed to live in rural North Dakota with room to grow a substantial garden. The bounty does not come easy; the harvest faces trouble and strife: evasive weeds, drought, pests, and critters. Perseverance of the husbandry, the care, and the feeding of our garden produces both carrots and character. I call the garden “Hope” because work and dedication create optimism; hope is the purple ribbon harvest from any struggle.
Voltaire’s novella ‘Candide, ou l’Optimisme’ published in 1759, tells the journey of Candide, the eternal optimist, through the endless troubles and hardships of the world, yet maintains a hopeful perception of it. Voltaire aligns life’s struggle and effort to cultivating a garden in the famous dialog from Candide was with Pangloss:
“‘All I know,’ said Candide, ‘is that we must cultivate our garden.’ – ‘You are right,’ said Pangloss, ‘for when man was placed in the garden of Eden, he was put there ‘ut operaretur eum’, so that he might work: which proves that man was not born for the rest.’ – ‘Let us set to work, for that is the only way to make life bearable.'”
‘ut operaretur eum’ ~ multiple translations’ meaning to work the earth from where man came’ and ‘to serve Him ‘… we are designed to work, be productive, and tend God’s gardens. We are to be good stewards of God’s blessings. Before the fall, a man was to work and care for what God gave him. After the fall, life became messy, complex, corrupt, and afflicted—Man struggled with thorn and thistle. God uses all our life struggles for good—therefore, we should have faith, pray continually in gratitude, and stay optimistic.
And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. ~ Romans 8:28
We had seen hard times before and grew more substantial, more mature through them. In World War II, we joined in the battle—20 million people raised “Victory Gardens” to fend off food shortages. Today’s gloom and doom media packs headlines and clickbait that read: “Hyper Inflation,” “Housing Collapse,” “Delta Variant,”—all I know is that we must cultivate our garden and persevere to make life bearable.
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance, character, and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. ~ Romans 5:1-5
On the 4th of July, the corn was knee-high; it grew three feet in ten days. Tend your garden, be an optimist, and never lose hope.