Zigs and zags and tomatoes

Straight rows of plants are never going to be the norm in my “cottage garden” style yard. For one thing, it’s hard to make all the plants uniform and march in formation as if they were soldiers on parade. I certainly don’t have that much control of the plant life under my command. For another thing, I don’t usually like the look of plants in rows.

The real reason I stopped planting in rows is the lack of efficiency and conservation it entails. Does a row of radishes really need two wide paths on either side of it to access a single line of the spicy root vegetable? No! Not even large tomato plants need a walkway on both sides. Last time I measured it, my harvesting “tool” was exactly one cubit long. The extension of that tool (my upper arm) is another cubit, for the really hard-to-reach tomatoes. 

Tomatoes and peppers now get planted in a zig-zag pattern, to conserves space. More often than not, I’ll put a tomato or pepper plant in among the perennial flowers. 

Last spring I even put tomatoes along my front walk, because my health was zigging and zagging while my “Yard Boy” took out the privet hedge there, and there was no time or energy to revamp it into something nice. 

It’s simple arithmetic. Blank soil plus tomato plants, minus energy to make a new bed equals Green Zebra tomatoes growing by the front porch.

Life was never meant to be a straight path. “Strait is the way….” does not refer to direction. the Old English word “strait” just means narrow, or constrained. Sort of like the type of thing you might have to zigzag through! 

If we are not flexible enough to allow ourselves to change course, we may not meet the goal intended. My gardening goal was to raise vegetables (and a lot of flowers) in as little space as necessary and as efficiently as I can. My life goal is to get to heaven and to bring as many souls with me as I can. BOTH goals may require course adjustments as “life happens.” 

The pandemic has caused more adjustments than we ever imagined. It is wonderful how technology has allowed us to commune with our brethren if only “in spirit” while worshiping online. I think I have prepared unleavened bread in my kitchen almost as many times during the past year as I have during my lifetime. We were blessed to be able to worship “in-person” last Sunday, and hopefully we all still know that this is the norm. 

Another zigzag we have taken is in encouraging the saints. Our church has shown up numerous times at our home, but not IN our home. We have received many calls to check up, and have also made such calls or messages. Zigzag. 

Our personal lives take zigs and zags as we navigate the “new normal.” But this is nothing new, just the same thing we have been doing for decades, only intensified. The old saying, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade,” doesn’t mention that what you really wanted was that tomato that was further than your “cubit” could reach. 

Change is inevitable. The only constant you can rely on is that things WILL change. Hold onto the hand of the One who never changes, and you can weather any zigzags in your life. You might even start to like lemonade!

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8, NASB).

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