Are we there yet?


by Christine Berglund

Changes, changes, changes. The second herb garden is now a daylily bed with very few herbs in it. They have been moved farther north to get more sun.

Originally the herbs were in the front corner bed by the garage, but it proved too wet there, and besides, it was taken over by chocolate mint.

Don’t be alarmed, the mint is now contained in a ceramic pot near the patio. Oh, and the patio is rather new, it was a bare spot near the back porch a few years ago. We now have a nice place to sit and look over the new yellow bed in front of the willows. That spot used to be home to tomatoes and corn.

When it comes down to it, the whole backyard was completely bare when we bought the place. Friends keep telling me how much we have done with the yard in the last few weeks, or months, or years.

Once in a while, someone will ask me if I now have the yard arranged as I wanted it. It elicits the same reaction as do children in the back seat of a car asking the age-old question, “Are we there yet?”

Is the landscape, done on a tight budget mostly with bartered plants, the way we want it to remain? Well, even if it were, there would be natural changes that would occur.

Trees and shrubs don’t stay small. When they do mature, they don’t live indefinitely or stay healthy and attractive. (Oh, boy! I know how that works!) The prudent homeowner would be forced to replace old vegetation with something new as time goes by anyway.

The fact is that I am always learning about new types of plants that would be fun to grow. I might discover a plant that would do well in a problem area, or find a new heuchera that perfectly matches my ninebark. So, no, we are not there yet. We never will be!

In our Christian walk we must know that we will never “arrive.” We may get Bible degrees from a university or a school of preaching, or we may have read the Bible through a hundred times. But we will never in this life reach a complete knowledge or maturity.

In fact, the more we mature, the more we realize this!

We can improve dramatically, just as my herb garden has drastically changed for the better and provides me with plenty of rosemary, oregano, and thyme. It even looks much better than it did in the old corner garden.

But as we change and grow and improve, we are more acutely aware of other aspects that need spiritual attention.

Our associations with good Christian people make us see even more possibilities; just as visiting a new garden gives us more ideas for improvement of our own. Good people continue to inspire us. Reading and studying God’s word will always bring new light to corners of our lives that we may have neglected.

Even the apostle Paul stated that he had not attained perfection.

“Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:12-13, NASB).


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