One year at a church camp for families, the theme was based on the Peter, Paul, and Mary’s “Garden Song.” I didn’t know the song, but parts of it stuck with me: “Inch by Inch, Row by Row, I’m gonna make this garden grow … Inch by Inch, Row by Row, someone bless the seeds I sow.” This is an important reminder for me that none of us automatically knows how to do much of anything. We have to learn how to roll over, sit up, stand, walk, talk. We have to learn manners, the difference between virtues and vice. Yet, so often, as we get older, many of us feel stupid if we don’t know everything. Some assume that those at the top of the class are naturally smart, rather than noticing how much they work to learn the material. We may think that graduating from a graduate school means you know everything you need to practice in your field. Some schools are better than others about offering internships and practicums, but in fields like Law, the rules can change with differing legislatures. You can have a good grasp on what you are doing one day, then find out the laws have changed or the procedures have changed, and it is time to rethink, to start over. A minister can thrive in one congregation and shrivel in another because of the personality of the different congregations. New ways of relating have to be learned. Learning doesn’t take place all at once; learning happens over time and continues to be sharpened as different experiences hone it. Just like a garden is planted, bit by bit, worked in, changed based on what works best, the same is true of our lives.
The same is also true of our spiritual lives. We must cultivate (#hopewriterlife word of the day) what we want to develop. Do you want to be more loving like Christ? Start by planting little seeds of love and tend to them. Do you want to be close to the Life-Giver? Open your heart and mind to let God in. There is a Spiritual Hymn that says, “I woke up this morning with my mind stayed on Jesus.” The Science of Positivity has embraced beginning your day in gratitude for your blessings and meditating on the good you want to have in your life. Angela Montano, a Spiritual Practitioner, says she wakes each morning and prays in the awareness that she is being held and supported by God’s love that is greater than she can imagine. My grandmother used to tell me I was going to turn into a chocolate cupcake because every time she offered to buy me something from the bakery, that is what I ordered. Likewise, our garden grows by the what we plant in it, how we tend it, what we dream of it being.
Each of us has the possibility to cultivate a deep spiritual life as we offer the love, forgiveness, and welcoming of Christ, inch by inch, row by row. And wouldn’t that truly be a beautiful garden!
Source: LyricFind; Songwriters: David Mallett; Garden Song lyrics © Reservoir Media Management Inc