How to grow a flourishing garden without doing anything


It’s spring, and I love the flowers blooming all over town, and especially in my yard.


The trouble is, I hate gardening. I resist cultivating the garden. I don’t like the hard work, the drudgery of pulling weeds and pruning old dead branches. I don’t like that I often can’t tell the difference between a weed and a legitimate flower because hey, the flowering weeds look pretty nice. I don’t like looking at my floppy flowers, the dried-up old flowers, and the holey leaves that are marks of well-fed insects.


It doesn’t help that I also don’t like watering the garden, and I always forget to feed the plants with the fertilizer that sits unopened in the shed. When I come home, I just want a little time to relax. In my world, a plant should be able to support itself. No wonder I have no house plants in my home; it would be an injustice to the house plant.


If life is like a garden, I love the blossoming of a deeper spiritual life. The trouble is, I sometimes resist cultivating it. With my busy schedule, my natural laziness, and my desire for “just a little time to relax,” I resist doing the hard work of spiritual discipline. I don’t like the drudgery of fasting and pruning old habits from my life.


I don’t like that I often can’t tell whether I’m being indifferent or prudent when I refuse to give money to a panhandler. I don’t like looking at my weak faith, my dried-up prayers, and my meditative practice full of holes. And as with my garden, it doesn’t help that I neglect to feed my soul by reading and meditating on Scripture.


But as with an earthly garden, doing nothing doesn’t make my soul grow. My relationship with God needs to be fed, and cultivated, and cared for, or else my faith will slowly wither.


So the answer to the title question, “How to grow a flourishing garden without doing anything?” is “Sorry, I can’t.”


Eventually, I realize that I like having a beautiful garden, so I do the work. And I also realize that I like having a deeper spirituality, and so I do the work. And in both cases, the work ends up being not only fulfilling but enjoyable. Who would have thought?


- Joanna+


I would love to hear your reactions and thoughts! Please respond at clergy@st-barnabas.org and let’s have a conversation!