The garden of my heart.

(Photo taken at Holy Spirit Monastery, Conyers, GA.)

(Photo taken at Holy Spirit Monastery, Conyers, GA.)

In tomorrow’s Gospel lesson, Jesus tells the parable of the sower. Hearing this parable used to make me uncomfortable. I worried that my soil was too rocky or shallow, that the good news would die or be snatched away. Looking back, this certainly seemed to be the case. I had times as a young person when I was very “religious” and spent many hours in scripture, and I had other periods of blatant rebelliousness, fueled in part by various forms of addiction.

In reading the parable of the sower, I couldn’t help but think of one of my 12-step mentors. Vange would refer to her “resentment garden” as she gave a regular account of how she was tending it. “When I water those resentments, they just grow and flourish,” she would chuckle. But, then she would talk about the good work of weeding and eradicating those suckers.

In my experience, it takes focused intention and commitment to properly tend the garden of my heart. The ground can look clear and pristine at times, but I know those resentments will spring up again at some point. When it comes to gardening, I am most enthusiastic about planting pretty new flowers and far less motivated by the need to weed and create maintainable boundaries. I must remind myself that regular inspections, with weeding and pruning, are what make room for beauty. They make for a garden space that is inviting and healing.

Why do I continue to balk at the hard work of tending the garden of my heart? Every time, once I get past the resistance, once I get down on my knees, hands deep in the dirt, I find a healing, transforming space. In that rich, fecund decay I find the source of new life.

About Mother Beth Tjoflat

Episcopal priest, urban contemplative, playwright, lover of hounds, American of Chilean-Norwegian-Moravian descent. Interests include transformational ministry with the forgotten and marginalized; church planting and congregational development; 12-step spirituality; Hispanic ministry; radical hospitality, and spending time with dear friends.
This entry was posted in 12-step spirituality, Christianity, faith, peace, Recovery, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The garden of my heart.

  1. Jane E. Novak says:

    Always love to read your wonderful posts!


    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Joseph Mazza says:

    Beth, Thanks for this. I have read it several times. It has struck a chord! See you tomorrow. God bless you. Joe

    Sent from my iPhone


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