catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 11, Num 7 :: 2012.03.30 — 2012.04.12


To plant or not

Living with regret

I stare out the window on a warm March afternoon of the winter-that-wasn’t in the southern United States. My garden plot stares back as if asking, “Are you going to prepare me or not?” One side is cluttered with deteriorating pea vines that fed deer instead of us. The other hosts the decaying remains of pepper plants and herb bushes.

I’ve made plans for the initial plowing but can’t help wondering, “Can I plant it?”  Yes. I have the skills, knowledge and implements. I am capable of driving to the local hardware store and buying the necessary seeds and plants. And I’m sure I can squeeze the time into my busy schedule somewhere.

But should I prepare and plant? That answer’s not so obvious. The plot of land hasn’t delivered favorable results in spite of fertilizer and proper care. Corn and hot peppers are the only crops that grow well, and what grows well attracts herds of deer. The expense of keeping them away along with the rising price of seed, gas and fertilizer makes me wonder if it’s worth the time and effort.

Will I do it anyway? Probably so. With the exception of my father and youngest brother, I come from a family of farmers and gardeners who get itchy this time of year. In spite of my misgivings and the disadvantages, I’m attracted by the smell of freshly plowed ground, the feel of sweat and dirt mixing, and the satisfaction of watching God perform miracles with my efforts.  

If I don’t plant my garden, I’m afraid regret will enmesh me as it did God during Noah’s time in history: “The LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled” (Gen. 6:6). It wasn’t that God hadn’t prepared the earth for humans. He had. He planted them in a beautiful garden with everything they needed to thrive. But they weren’t satisfied. Eve wanted the one thing God forbade, Adam followed suit and it was all weeds from there. By Noah’s arrival, God regretted what had become of his beautifully cultivated plot of land.

Just as my garden plot serves a temporary purpose, so God has planted me where I am for a season. I cannot change the past and have limited control over the present. The future is even more tenuous. Regrets poison life. The should have’s, could have’s, would have’s can be overwhelming. Looking back hinders forward progress, making us prisoners of the past instead of claiming power over it.  

Well, time to stop contemplating, get out the implements and get dirty. I’ll do my part, God will do his, and in the end it will work out for the best. After all, he made the garden, not me. 

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