Last year I decided my next phase of farm life should involve a large, illustrious garden. Since I am an ambitious person, I drew plans for a full acre to house a variety of homemade garden boxes and trellises and copiously researched ideal companion plants. I saved up money for a ridiculous amount of garden soil, bought a mix of seeds, started seedlings, and then transplanted them into the garden of my dreams. The wee hours of the morning found me weeding and watering and mulching and pruning. Eventually, green tomatoes turned red, blossoms became squash became large enough to pick, and just the smell of the habanero pepper section made me cough. Everything was right on track – but then life interrupted. Visits to the garden got fewer and farther between as a laundry list of other tasks shoved their way higher up my list of priorities.
How often are our dreams like my garden? High hopes, plans, and investments coupled with energy and excitement fall victim to other, more insistent life demands. I have seen myself and others fall into this pattern. How do we so easily let our dreams get deterred?
Like the problem, the answer can also be found in my garden. When one weed creeped up and was not pulled, it naturally kept growing. That weed stole vital nutrients from the soil and pushed its way into the sunlight, which meant the more valued plants in my garden could not receive all that they needed in order to thrive. More weeds crept into one bed after another and one day when I finally made time to go back to the garden, I was overwhelmed by the amount of catching up that would be required to make the garden appealing and functional again. At that point, I did not have enough energy to tackle the overwhelming amount of invasive nutrient suckers, and left the garden feeling dejected.
A few weeks later, the day came when I wanted to make homemade salsa and it occurred to me that almost everything I needed had been planted in my garden. While I could have opted to continue ignoring my farm life dream and head to the nearest grocery store, instead I made the decision that the farm-fresh tomatoes, jalapenos, cilantro, and onions waiting to be tended to were worth the work involved to reclaim them from the weeds. I loaded up with water, bug-spray and, honestly, a lot of deodorant, then headed outside where I persisted buried in dirt, pruning out the things that did not belong and tending to those that were worthwhile.
Dreams, like my garden, must be pruned and tended to. We must protect our big goals and life ambitions by being aware of the things that can creep up and steal precious resources. Decisively prune out the actions and expectations that do not align with your dreams and tend to them by investing vital resources of time and energy. Then be vigilant to nurture a pruning and tending mindset so that your dreams can blossom and flourish. The effort is worth it – the salsa was amazing!