New parables: Cultivate appreciation

A woman who enjoyed flowers decided to plant a garden. She imagined gathering flowers and adding a bouquet to each room of her house. She intended to press and dry flowers and make bath salts scented with rose petals and lavender.

The woman researched her growing zone. She tested the soil and consulted garden centers about which plants would perform best in her garden.

She tilled her garden plot and raked in compost. She sowed seeds and put down bedding plants — annuals and perennials and herbs. She watered. She fertilized. And soon the garden grew lush. The plants brought forth buds, then blooms: red flowers, yellow flowers, blue and purple and pink flowers. The garden grew fragrant with the scent of roses and rosemary, sweet moonflowers, spicy carnations.

But the woman never saw the flowers, nor did she enjoy their perfumes. She was too busy pulling weeds. Bent over bind weed and pigweed, she never looked up long enough to enjoy the blossoms. She did not cut flowers for bouquets. Nor did she dry flowers, nor collect petals to sweeten her baths. She focused only on the weeds. The woman yanked weeds, dug weeds and sprayed toxic herbicides. But still, naturally, a few weeds returned, much to her dismay.

Next door lived a woman who kept an unruly garden. Overgrown and not obsessively tended, the garden provided natural habitat for butterflies and songbirds. The garden was alive and lovely, though far from weedless.

Each morning and each evening, the woman sat in a porch swing and enjoyed the beauty of her garden, the scent of flowers, the progression of bud to bloom. When she noticed weeds, she pulled them. But when she gazed at her garden, she saw mostly flowers, which she sometimes gathered for beautiful bouquets.

This article comes to you from Grace In Action (Our Sunday Visitor) courtesy of your parish or diocese.

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