How does that saying go, better late than never? When I finally had time to begin planting my garden this year, it was a little late … like 30 days late. Peas, potatoes and onions should be in the ground on Good Friday! Oh well … as they say, better late than never!
While digging the lettuce row, I realized my garden used to be planted in perfectly straight rows. Using a string attached to two sticks, I would run the string tight across the garden and dig the row along the string. Next, measuring exactly 12 or 18 inches at each end depending on the plant, I’d move the string and start a new row. The plants would emerge from the ground in straight lines like soldiers marching in a parade. I remember standing at the edge of my garden, admiring my hard work and loving the way it looked. It was symmetrical and straight, without a crooked row or one plant out of line.
It occurred to me today, that garden symbolized then the way I wanted my life to be i.e. each day evolving exactly as it was planned, perfect, in line, no surprises or crooked rows. This realization made me wonder; did my striving for perfection make the plants grow better? Did the perfectly straight and spaced rows yield more fruit? Of course not, but planting a garden does require a certain amount of order. Simply throwing all of the seeds randomly into the soil will create chaos and yield little fruit. Rows are important and each plant must have its own growing space to thrive. The rows, soil, and spacing must be good. Yep, order is necessary. However, perfection is not.
Demanding perfection when sowing seeds does not necessarily yield more fruit. In fact, insisting on perfection often takes more time and can create undue stress and conflict without enhancing the final outcome. If we are honest with ourselves, when we become fixated on perfection, we often end up missing out on a great deal of good. I no longer use that string or a tape measure. I don’t remember when I stopped … perhaps when I realized being so meticulous was stealing time from other important areas in my life. Do not misunderstand, being in the garden; digging, planting and enjoying the results of my effort, brings me great joy. However, spending the wrong kind of time along with self-induced stress while striving for perfection was stealing my “good.”
I’ve decided that guesstimating the distance between the rows and digging as straight as possible by eyeing things creates more joy for me and enough order necessary for the seeds to grow and plants to thrive. All of the measuring and striving for perfect rows in the past did not produce more fruit. My garden will grow beautifully in these crooked rows. It will be good. And frankly, it will be fun to see just how crooked my rows are when the plants emerge from the ground. Life is too short to let striving for perfection get in the way of good!
How does your garden grow? 🙂