I’m not very good at being patient. Waiting is not my strong suit. Long lines at the grocery are my enemy and being on hold with, say, a utility company, is my idea of a nightmare. When I am forced to wait I start to imagine all the things I could be doing, getting accomplished in those minutes or hours. I get down on myself thinking I’ve made a poor choice; that putting myself in the situation to wait is clearly a sign I have chosen poorly.
This is why I am a terrible gardener.
I have planted many bushes/flowers/vines over the years. When I lived up north I attempted bulbs one year. Bulbs are madness for someone with my under-abundance of patience. I tend to buy smaller plants because I’m cheap, thinking I will have the patience to watch them grow. I generally kill them before they reach any sort of maturity.
This year my gardening skill unexpectedly met up with last year’s laziness. I bought mums and pumpkins to create a fall scape on my back porch last October. It was lovely and looked great on Instagram with a soft focus and warm lens. When it came time to put fall away I simply planted the mums in the back flower bed and sat the pumpkins around them. And I walked away. The pumpkins sat, beautifully preserved, through our Houston winter. The mums hung on for dear life. As winter turned to spring and spring into summer (which happens in about a 72 hour stretch in Houston) I noticed the pumpkins started to look a little withered. They weren’t as vibrant in color as they had been in the fall and they were sagging a bit in the middle. I should have picked them up and pitched them but something in me said they’d be just fine. (Sometimes laziness says things like that.) So I left them.
That particular section of bed is behind a pergola area of our yard and I didn’t venture back there for a while. So imagine my surprise one day when I walked around the corner and saw a beautiful pumpkin vine growing wildly through the mums. I was ecstatic and immediately began envisioning the “home grown” pumpkins I would give friends this fall. I came up with a plan to leave pumpkins in that spot every year and be the pumpkin lady who has her own patch.
The problem was that I made this discovery in July. Houston is not kind in July and no matter how I tried to keep up with the watering, the pumpkin vine did not make it. I gave up on my short-lived dream of my very own patch. Several vines with lovely and delicate orange flowers have popped up since then but I have not allowed myself to tend to them. Tending would cause me to dream again and frankly, I don’t have time to dream of being a pumpkin lady. I’ve got too many irons in the fire.
I was thinking about the pumpkin vines today. I made a run into the grocery store and there are about a million pumpkins sitting on the walk outside. I thought, “This could’ve been me if I’d only had the patience to tend to the pumpkin vine.”
While I realize my words sound like I’m a little bitter over pumpkins, alas, I am not. I do have to wonder, however, about my patience. Or more so, my lack of patience. How often do I ask God for something and then expect it to flower, bloom, and produce within the hour? And how often do I give up when that doesn’t happen? God says I should hope for what I don’t have and then wait patiently for it to happen. He wants me to make my requests with a thankful and glad heart. God always knows what is best for me and when the best delivery time is going to be. Sometimes I see an answer immediately. Other times I have to wait. And sometimes he tells me that it’s not in his plan for me to be a grower and peddler of pumpkins. That is when I have to have hope that he has something better if I can only be patient enough.
I pray for patience and He gives me opportunities to be patient.
I also buy pumpkins at the grocery store.
(Photo courtesy of http://giantpumpkinprimer.wikispaces.com/)