Watch your step!


by Christine Berglund

The primary purpose of a stepping stone is to provide the prudent gardener a place to put his or her foot. Today as I was working in a four-foot wide bed, I was visually reminded of this.

As I stepped back to the ample landing space of the lawn, I looked back in horror to see four very deep footprints marring the level humus of the newly prepared bed.

The light soil, so ready to sprout seeds in a hospitable environment, had been compacted back into what was likely to turn into the consistency of bricks.

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise; making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15, 16 NASB).

Now, some of the stepping stones in my gardens are more decorative than functional.

The wrought iron butterfly stepping stone has been taken over by the weeds that grow between the generous and hospitable metal veins of its ornamental wings.

The lightweight compass stepping stone by the front walk, given to me by the Garden Club a long time ago, is too fragile to actually be walked upon.

In other places, the smaller step stones have been overgrown by sneaky creeping plants such as Verbena or various sedums. They seem to cover the stone overnight.

Before you know it, you literally have to “tiptoe through the tulips” because there is not enough space to put your whole foot down without crushing some very pretty creeping plants.

Then there are the substantial eighteen inch concrete walkway stones leading from the driveway to the back porch. Ahh! Now there’s a good place to plant my feet, even when they are not visible through armfuls of grocery sacks.

Yes, we must be wary how we walk.

While watering my hostas and iris two summers ago, I made a misstep and broke an ankle and dislocated my kneecap.

You see, we can do more than just damage what we step on, we can damage ourselves. We are to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called” (Ephesians 4:1).

Jesus certainly put a high value on us, so we should then guard our souls by watching our own Christian walk. That is what is meant by “worthy.”

It certainly does not mean we create our own worth, or overestimate it. Our worth is determined by the high price paid for us, the blood of God’s beloved Son. We must walk in the way we have been called.

So I gingerly step around my dormant perennial plants, so as not to crush an unremarkable twig that could have turned into a blossom-laden branch.

We walk carefully when we “walk in love,” as Ephesians 5:2 suggests. The chapter outlines how to walk in love, and most of it deals with pure living, as the next chapter delves into our relationships to others.

I was watchful today not to step on the Allium that was emerging demurely from the mulch near the front pathway. I had placed a marker on the Autumn Glory Sedum that had accidentally seeded itself in the middle of the pathway in my “back 40” garden, and my clumsy feet thankfully missed crushing the tender shoots.

I wish I could say I was as careful with the feelings and sensitivities of the people around me. My cautious and convoluted walk through the sprouting garden of the late winter is a good reminder of the care I should take in my Christian walk.

Are we watching our step?

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