I had attempted for three years to cultivate hostas in our side garden. Hostas! They are the perfect shade friendly plant. They are pretty versatile and hardy, but alas, they would only last a short time and then die. I conceded and started envisioning something more conducive to that area that seemed to not be plant friendly. I talked to my landscaper friend and he agreed. Stones and then containers with some shade plants. That was my plan for the next year. I felt good about it.
I had hope that it would work, only someone decided to bless me, who did not know about my attempts and my new plan. They just saw a sad looking area that needed some love. So that well meaning person chose hostas from their garden to share and surprise me with. I came home and noticed someone had planted hostas in my side garden and they looked lovely. I was thankful for the act of kindness even though I was pretty sure it would not work. But then something happened, her hostas grew and grew. I thought well I guess it is just me. I knew hostas were right, but why were hers working and not mine?
But then it happened, as it had for the past three years, they started to die. One by one they died off as the others had each year. I was sad to see them go, but was glad that I had read the area right. The soil is not right for full grown healthy hostas, or ferns, or bleeding hearts, or any other plant for that matter. I do not know why, but it is not.
I was thinking of that experience a couple weeks ago as I walked by that side garden that still needs stones and some containers to beautify it and thought it was a good picture of something we do sometimes to others. Or I have done to others. I see a situation that needs help and try to fix it, not realizing that they may have tried that and were getting ready to go another way. I try to help in an area that I do not know the history, or all the attempts that have been made doing the same thing I am suggesting. The person makes the one last try out of kindness to me and it seems to work for a bit, but since it wasn’t really the solution, it was just the quick fix, it dies off and like me and the garden they start blaming themselves thinking they did something wrong.
Sometimes it is easy to think we have the answer from the outside, especially if a situation looks similar to one we have walked through, but without the knowledge of the deeper issues and the makeup of that person, or knowing what God is already doing and where he is taking them, we may delay them from obedience or deter them from what is right in front of them.
I am continuing to learn that as with gardens, which I know far less about than people, it takes cultivating a relationship. It is more about walking with a person, encouraging them to seek God and trust what He is telling them. If my friend had talked with me before trying to fix that garden, we could have planted those beautiful hostas in containers that would have been perfect on top of the stones, instead I felt defeated and frustrated because now the year has past and I was not any further along. My friend’s intent was pure and kind. She wanted to be helpful and I am so thankful for that, but sometimes we need someone to walk with us on the journey more than fix something for us.