I have spent my life shifting. I have lived in nine different cities and resided in over twenty properties. Change is something I have made peace with.
Every so often we get to stay long enough to put down roots. Literally.
My husband is an avid gardener. He is my perfect match as I love a beautiful garden, but I am gardening-challenged. However, he enjoys nothing more than heading outdoors to dig, weed, mow, plant or prune something. Wherever we live, he always creates a green sanctuary for us.
His desire to fashion something significant and beautiful, no matter where we are, has always inspired me.
Even when we were renting, he would still spend hours tending to and working on the owner’s gardens. I can safely say that every property we ever resided in was worth more when we left than when we arrived.
At times, I have been sad to leave our houses, mainly due to the beautiful gardens. My soul longed for the brilliant colours of the native birds visiting our Grevilleas. A favourite was the climbing jasmine that transformed into a waterfall of delicate white flowers each year. Its extravagant perfume drifting through open doors on balmy evenings, triumphantly declaring that summer had arrived.
However, the one plant that fascinated me most was the passionfruit vine that my husband planted on the back fence. Every time I hung out the washing, I would survey it and observe the affect of the seasons upon it.
During the summer seasons it would grow rapidly. Every day it would seem to have inched its way forward. My husband would carefully train it along the fence so that it had room to develop. It growth was rapid and unpredictable, often needed care to keep it from consuming the clothesline.
We would watch with delight, as it began to develop the unique white and purple flowers, which eventually would yield the sweet, rich, fruit of the season. During these times, he kept the vine well watered to support its prolific growth.
Then there were the transitional seasons of autumn and spring. Seasons of change.
He would prune back what was no longer fruitful. One day as I rounded the corner of the house I gasped in horror… his savage pruning had all but destroyed the vine. I almost wept. “Are you sure it will survive?” I asked. “Of course” he responded. And sure enough when spring came, the vine began to glisten with life once again. Despite how harsh it looked, I knew I could trust his expertise.
As winter came I looked upon the grey-wooden twisted base that jutted out of the ground. It was the opposite of its summer self - lifeless and fruitless. The earth around it dormant and the heavens above cold and silent. Here in this quiet, hidden season, where nothing appears to happen, my husband feeds the plant so it roots can continue to grow deep. This season requires patience and perseverance to ensure that it will survive the winter time.
As we journey through life we too will face all four seasons, just like my passionfruit vine. Summer. Autumn. Spring. Winter. Repeat. The cycle is God-ordained. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2) It is inevitable and necessary for life to grow.
In watching my husband tend to our gardens I have realised something important.
Gardeners understand the significance of each season. They also understand that no matter what season they are in, they are significant to the season.
For a garden to flourish, the gardener must be alert to the seasons, and work within that season to gain the most from it. At times we can rebel against this, wishing it were summer when it is winter. However, we miss the significance of the moment, and our significance to the moment, when we ignore the present.
Each season has its purpose. A wise gardener comprehends this and tends to that seasons needs, knowing that the work done today will make for a flourishing garden in the future.
It is the same for us. Whether we find ourselves in a season of growth, pruning, or quietness – each has its purpose. God created each season and He created us to master each season we are in. (Genesis 1:28) He has chosen us to reflect His glory throughout the earth, we are significant, no matter what season we are in.
My husband’s desire to create a sanctuary, regardless of our situation or season, makes me so proud of him. I imagine this must be similar to how Father God feels about us. I know He is so proud when He sees us grasp our significance and begin to master the seasons of life.