The Soul Garden
By Rev. Crystal Schmalz
Lately, I have really been thinking about planting a garden. My parents used to buy seeds and try to grow plants, flowers, and vegetables. I remember going out to my aunt and uncle’s farm, and thinking about how incredible it would be to have a garden. If I had a garden, I would go and buy the most colorful flowers. I would want to grow beautiful flowers, so I could have fresh flowers in my house every day. I love roses, sunflowers, hydrangeas, and tulips. I can imagine the vibrant colors or red, yellow, blue, green, orange, and pink. I would plant seeds for vegetables. I would want green peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, cilantro and other herbs. I can smell the cilantro and other herbs, and would smile as I was able to use them to cook. I might even plant a pumpkin seed or a watermelon seed, and wait for it to grow. Summer is coming, and the cool refreshing taste of watermelon lingers in my mind. It would be a beautiful garden. I would even put little gnomes scattered throughout for decoration. I would have a lawn chair, sit in the sun, and read a book as the plants and flowers grew next to me in the garden. It would be good for the soul.
As I think about this physical garden, I am also reminded about the soul garden. I think about the gifts of the Spirit and the fruits of the Spirit. I think about the time it takes each day to cultivate our hearts and souls. I think about the connection to God. Like the physical garden needs sunlight and water to grow, I think about the things we need to grow on a daily basis. I am reminded of the blessing to be in relationship with God, and how we can bring our prayers and concerns to God every day. From the smallest to the largest concern, I know God is hearing our prayers. We grow when we pray. I think about how being around friends and family helps us grow. We need each other to grow. The flower will never grow without the rich soil. I think about patience, faith, endurance, joy, peace, and love. These are the plants and fruits I want to have in my soul garden. But it takes time. It takes intentionality. It takes creativity. It takes commitment. It is an everyday walk with the Savior. The soul garden must be connected to the creator. Without a creator connection, we are left empty and void of real meaning and purpose. We wander. Some who wander are free, but others who wander are lost.
The garden of the soul does not grow without work, and toil. Like the physical garden, the gardener must pull weeds, and make sure to plant different vegetables and plants with enough room to grow. The garden will need good soil, and will need to be placed in the right amount of sun. Our souls need room to grow. The situations and circumstances of life often try our faith. There are times we need space to grow. There are times we need to be present and still with the Almighty in order to feel refreshed and renewed in our commitments. A garden will not grow without intentionality.
Today, let us think about the garden of the soul. What do we need today? Do we need to plant some mercy and justice? Do we need to plant some hope and love? Do we need to plant some forgiveness and safety? I know I need to take an inventory of my soul from time to time. I want to make sure that when the spring and summer comes, the garden blooms and I see the beautiful flowers and taste the incredible vegetables. In this same way, I want to be ready when my time on earth is complete, and I go to be with the Lord.
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