Someone sked me two questions and they requested brief answers. Can’t promise extreme brevity but … I do promise to try! First, the questions: “Why the garden analogy in talking about self-improvement?” and “Sum up such in one word, please?”
A garden is a space dedicated to things that are growing. That is my definition, by the way. If you look the word up, you will discover that a garden is officially, as a noun, “a plot of ground, usually near a house, where flowers, shrubs, vegetables, fruits, or herbs are cultivated; a piece of ground or other space, commonly with ornamental plants, trees, etc., used as a park or other public recreation area; a fertile and delightful spot or region. As a verb, the word garden means “to cultivate”. It comes from the German “garten” which means yard.
In more modern times, though, a garden is not just a yard. It is what we do with that yard space. The term “yard” now means lawn and once in place, a lawn is tended but seldom renewed each year and made to change. It simply is maintained. Our lives are not something that we should simply maintain. They are living entities and change is inevitable. I used the analogy of a garden because we are supposed to cultivate or grow and do so daily.
To sum up or describe how we are to cultivate a better self is really not so easy. It requires being able to foresee the future as well as include the past. I think the best one word answer I can think of is simply “reaction”… It is how we react to life that determines our true character and paves the pathway of our future.
“Love in action. Beyond reaction, there is a place.” This quote comes from a dear friend and spiritualist Nancy Kern. She posted it on Facebook with a link to a news story. The story told of a shoplifting event that occurred in Malaysia. The manager of a grocery store saw a man shoplifting and after stopping him, inquired as to the cause of his illegal activity. The man explained he’d had to quit in job to care for his children after his wife slipped into a coma following childbirth.
This situation is rather extreme but is also similar to those we all face every day. We all have choices in how we react and those reactions illustrate just who we are and what we believe. How we react is a mirror of our faith but more importantly, reaction is a reflection of our character.
In reaction there can either be love or disapproval, judgement or acceptance, inclusiveness in the family of mankind or hatred and death of spirit and body. The store manager in Malaysia offered the shoplifter a job and gave him an advance on his salary. How will you react today?