Cleanup on garden seven

Cleanup w Iris

by Christine Berglund

One topic that is never addressed in the garden clubs and plant society meetings is the subject of “good housekeeping” outside the house.

Let me say at the outset that I am not a tidy, neat person. Clean, yes; organized, somewhat; tidy, no, I struggle with that. Today I painstakingly made myself straighten up the garden beds.

Oh, I know those quaint little paintings with the pile of clay pots and the antique watering cans are oh-so-charming. The reality actually involves garish plastic pots blowing around the yard, along with the ubiquitous plastic bags with which my garden friends trade plants.

Hoses snake their way treacherously through the patio and across the walk, and half-dead plants are piled up ready for composting, looking hideously neglected as they wait on death row.

Bags of mulch and potting soil, not in pretty muslin sacks of yesteryear, lean precariously near the cluttered potting table. The contents spill into the lawn, causing a blotch of brown where it should be green. We also use a lot of tools, and we don’t always take the time to put them away!

Serious gardeners look past the mess and into the beauty of the emerging plant life. Casual visitors might not. Hence the cleaning frenzy.

It is human nature, as well as the Second Law of Thermodynamics, that an ordered garden will deteriorate into disorder.

Every aspect of our lives is like that, if we care to admit it. We might get a little sloppy sometimes with the language we use, our emotions that we don’t control, or our entertainment choices.

Spiritually speaking, sometimes it’s just a good idea to clean up as often as possible.

As we study the Bible, we will constantly see the things we need to tidy up in our own lives. It’s so much like my garden, when I get ready to take a picture; through the lens of the camera I see those plastic pots littered haphazardly where I put them when I took the lovely plants out of them. Or in the background, I now see those garden stakes leaning against the fence.

Isn’t it astounding that one can read the scriptures, and something that should have been obvious in prior readings suddenly stands out? Yes, that’s like a camera lens. Those pots and garden stakes were there all along, but I didn’t notice them, nor how ugly it was in my picture. What’s worse, it made my garden unsightly and unkempt. Those things that we discover through a careful look at God’s Word were there all along; but now that we notice them, it’s time to clean up!

“For if any one is a hearer of the Word and not a doer; he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:23-25, NASB).

The camera on my phone, which I usually use when taking garden photos, has a feature that turns the camera around on me.

I must say it’s rather alarming when it gets toggled to that setting unexpectedly, and I open up the app to find my own unprepared face staring back at me in the viewfinder. I have the same reaction as I do when I frame my plants; “Clean it up!”

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