Listening in the Garden: The Backyard Metaphor for Life

By Andy Wade

The backyard is really a living metaphor for life.

A quick look yields some obvious points:bees on poppy

  1. You reap what you sow… most of the time.
  2. Some things simply can’t be rushed.
  3. Planning and preparation yield the greatest results.
  4. There will always be pests.
  5. Many of the things you thought were pests actually have an important role to play – they just need to be better understood.
  6. There will also be “beneficials”, those that join you in the process of bearing fruit.

Spending a bit more time exploring, one discovers a deeper level of truth:

  1. Planting all the same crop in one space increases the chances of problems, while diversity yields mutually beneficial results.
  2. My garden is not just for me, it’s a celebration of life and beauty that can be shared with neighbors, friends, family, and even strangers. In this way, the garden becomes a source of celebration, joy, and community.
  3. You always have a choice how to deal with problems – there are toxic methods that simply attack, and there are gentler, less destructive approaches.

Stepping deeper into the backyard reveals even more:lilly.1

  1. There is way more going on here than meets the eye!
  2. The less you disturb the soil, the more time you’ll have to enjoy and celebrate the harvest.
  3. The garden system, like all of creation, has ways to repair itself. I don’t have to spend so much time “fixing things” if I listen and learn from God’s creation.

Now here’s an interesting exercise. Go through the above lists slowly and think more specifically:

  1. How do these ideas apply to my family?
  2. How do these ideas apply to my neighborhood?
  3. How do these ideas apply to my church community?
  4. How do these ideas apply to my city or town?

I did, and the insights were amazing!


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