Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Vine plants and Life

Last fall we spread our compost out over our proposed garden space for this year.  It seems our plans never work out quite as we intend.  We had some set backs due to an uncooperative tiller.  Our schedules and the weather at times didn't jibe.  When we finally got into the garden to start planting, we discovered a mess of volunteer vine plants!  Volunteers are a welcome part of our gardening; they are plants that start growing on their own (from the compost or a previous planting).  We excitedly studied them trying to figure out what they were and how much we could afford to save.  Our best guess is that we have watermelon and pumpkin plants growing.

Determining how much we can afford to save is a more difficult assessment.  We all know that weeds are bad.  They interfere with the plant growth and must be removed.   But did you know that good plants can interfere with the growth of other good plants?
Take these plants for example, as they grow they may choke each other out.  There is a risk that neither plant will grow good fruit.  Therefore it is necessary to thin the plants out.  We had to pull out some plants so the other plants would be healthier, grow to maturity and produce the desired fruit - hopefully in large quantities :-)

But guess what... the job is not done.   This thinning is a continuous process.  Each day when we check the garden we find 6 -10 new volunteers.  We have to keep assessing which plants can truly grow into something productive.
This little guy on the right is trying to grow in between two bigger, more mature plants (one of which is shown on the left).  He will fight for food and water like my daughters fight over the biggest handful of Skittles.  It will get ugly and one or more of the plants will loose its nice healthy green color.  Though it is hard to pluck such a nice looking plant from the ground and end its life, doing so was necessary for the survival and maturity of the other plants.

Our lives are similar.  There are many good healthy things we could do to fill our time.  However, if we are not careful, we can try to do too many things - even too many good things.  Especially now in the summer time I feel this tension as I look at activities for the children.  We COULD attend swimming lessons, gymnastics classes, art classes, reading challenges, story times, Vacation Bible Schools, piano lessons, guitar lessons, drum lessons, cheer leading camps, etc., etc.   If we tried to do all of the good things that are available, we would end up so tired we would miss out on healthier family times and teaching opportunities at home.  Just like in the garden, the evaluation has to be constant.   When you get your schedule set, something else WILL grow up to tempt you. 

This doesn't just apply to the family, it applies to me personally as well.   As I anticipate the fall and having my youngest attend kindergarten, I consider what I might do.  I might work, I might volunteer, I might enjoy more lunches with friends, I might read, I might write, etc.  I will have to continue evaluating to consider what things will contribute to the best growth and maturity.

Just as too many volunteer vine plants can choke each other out in my garden, too many activities  (good and solid though they may be) can choke out productivity and quality in my life.

A friend challenged me not to do what is good, not to do what is better, but to do what is BEST.  I pass that challenge on to you.  Have you thought about things in your life that may be choking out better things?   Do you have a plan to put more time and energy into the BEST?

No comments:

Post a Comment