What is a garden?  It’s not what you think.  Sure, it may include corn, watermelon, carrots and a sundry of other ground-growing delicacies.  But the garden to which I’m referring is much more life-sustaining than the seasonal herbs and tomatoes.

My “garden” concept comes from a friend who was burning out as a leader in a large organization.  He had decided to quit but thought it best to see a councilor before he did so.  At the appointment, the counselor asked,”Do you have a garden?”  My friend was stumped.  Of course not!  He was too busy, too depressed, too exhausted.  “That is your problem.” said the counselor.  “Your whole life is wrapped around your duties and you have nothing that is yours to which you can attend.  Plant a garden and you’ll survive.”

So, he bought a “garden-in-a-box” and set up the 2 foot by 2 foot crate on his back deck.  After two days, little shoots came up to which he tended.  After a week, the garden was flourishing with sprouts from different herbs and small tomato plants poking their stems up from beneath the dirt.  Today, my friend accredits that little plot to saving his marriage, saving his ministry and saving his life.  Why?  Because the garden was something that he could do, that produced fruit and that was his.

Do you have a garden?

I’m not talking necessarily about a planted-seed garden but one that takes you away from the burdens of the daily grind.  More than a hobby, a garden is something that yields fruit that is different from what you normally do for work.  Maybe it’s building birdhouses.  Maybe it’s sewing.  Maybe it’s writing music.

Do you have a garden?

Currently for me, I walk through my garden when I’m writing.  Right now, the “plant” that I’ve just finished tending to is a prayer guide for parents with children going back to school.  You can check it out here.

If you don’t have a place or a thing or an event that produces the “fruit” of refreshment, here are 3 suggestions to getting started.

1)  Revive a passion from your childhood.  As a kid, you didn’t have the burden of responsibility that you have now.  What was something that you loved to do before or after school or on the weekends with your friends. For example, fishing or painting by numbers.

2)  Pursue something that you’ve always wanted to try.  I’ve heard of many people taking piano lessons at the age of 40 just because they’ve always wanted to.  Others take cooking classes or learn to build playhouses.  What have you always wanted to try or learn?

3)  Try, Try and Try again.  I’ve had several “gardens” in my lifetime.  I’ve written music, restored old furniture, dabbled in real estate, played tennis, shot arrows and even learned to play the banjo.  All of them have been fun and have provided a necessary getaway from my daily tasks.  Sometimes, like me, you’ll have many gardens but all of them are necessary to your mental and emotional health.

Question:  What “garden” do you enjoy?


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