When the Amazon was burning, I had this big stone in my heart that left me so hopeless. I watched the lungs of the Earth being consumed in flames and my fear for the future increased. What will happen to the world my children will live in? I wished I could do more than just pray for rain to stop the fire. When I looked outside our window, I saw my tiny garden with butterflies flying over the dainty flowers just starting to bloom. Then it came to me… I can do more! My tiny garden made me realize that it is not just about the small produce I harvest. It soothed my feelings of helplessness. Over the course of tending it, I have learned some of life’s most valuable lessons.
I Can Be a Producer and Not Just a Consumer
In this world, there are two kinds of beings – the givers and the takers. People are considered takers; thus the title “consumers”. We take and take not just because we need things, but greed is a strong force that propels us to take more than what we need. Working in my garden taught me that I can be a giver. I may not be giving a lot from such a tiny parcel of land, but I feel I have contributed to producing oxygen instead of just consuming it to produce carbon dioxide. Am I a giver in other things in my daily life? Do I produce happiness, and comfort, and service for others? There are so many ways we can contribute to this world. It is indeed an eye opener for me, how much the little things we do can make a difference.
I Can Work With Nature
Humans, through our intelligence and technology, have made breakthroughs that have changed the way the world works. We have solved numerous problems, but advancements in technology have also endangered the natural order of things. We tend to tailor nature to suit what we want, but what we don’t understand is that nature knows better than we do. In my garden, I learned that I cannot force a seed to sprout. I cannot will a plant to flower or fruit. “To everything there is a season” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). I can use all the fertilizers and other concoctions or methods science can offer, but the best produce can only come from the works of the Lord Himself. And it is the same with other things in my life. Some things I can’t rush: my progression in the gospel, the things I am learning in mortality, I cannot even speed through my trials. I must be patient and work with nature and not against it.
Persistence From Weeds
There is one thing I cannot seem to stop propagating in my tiny garden: weeds. They come in different forms but they have one thing in common – they never die! I have gone to great lengths to get rid of them, but they keep growing! Finally, I tossed my garden tools in the air and told myself, “There must be something these weeds are good for…” I may not know now, but maybe someday the cure for cancer could come from these pesky plants. One thing I know for sure… Weeds taught me persistence. No matter what I do to deter their growth, they cleverly find ways to sprout. And so the persistent weeds gave me staying power when I face challenges. And when I am tempted to give up in the face of life’s challenges I tell myself, “Be like the weeds… Be like the weeds…”
Planting Increased My Hope for a Better Tomorrow
Audrey Hepburn said, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” I am reminded of how Alma compared the word of God unto a seed (Alma 32: 28-43). The nourishing of a seed will eventually bring forth fruit. Well, not all plants produce fruit, they might give edible leaves, medicinal roots, beautiful flowers, etc. The point is if we give a seed a chance to grow – like that of the word of God – we will someday reap the rewards. My faith increases as I tend to every single plant in my garden. And my hope for a better tomorrow exponentially increases as I get to watch a seed develop into a beautiful mature plant.
As I pondered upon the lessons that I’ve learned from my garden, somehow I understood why Heavenly Father prepared a garden for Adam and Eve. I am sure they learned numerous things from all the flora and fauna that they saw around them. I feel Heavenly Father’s love in my tiny garden. His promise that “…the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare…” (D&C 104:17) holds true.I hope we could all experience Eden in our own home as we create beautiful things, with the Lord’s help, in our lives, families, and communities. It is simply magical!