Saturday, April 11, 2015

Whatever? What a Waste!

Picture of male Black-chinned hummingbird hovering in desert honeysuckle
Yesterday was a really good day of gardening.  

It is not just that ten of my twelve hostas are up and looking grand, although they are.  And it is not only because I weeded and mulched around the old wheelbarrow - painted a bright turquoise - which provided a spiffy clean base for the blossoming salvia, dianthus and geraniums - though I did.

No, the best thing about yesterday's efforts was the sense of real satisfaction I had walking around the various garden plots on our little half-acre and seeing the burgeoning results of the past three years coming to fruition.  At last.

Remember the old gardening axiom I shared with you some time ago?  It says, after planting, nature tends to do the following: Year one - sleep.  Year two - creep.  Year three-leap!

Well, it is year "three" around the old Young scatter, and things are leaping up and out all over the place!  All the digging, and fertilizing and raking, and mulching, and planting, and planting and planting... well, you get the idea.  It has been, as one of my granddaughters might say, "Totally worth it."

But really now, why care so much? A very good question.
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Caring, we know, is an exacting and demanding business.  it requires not only interest and compassion and concern; it demands self-sacrifice and wisdom and tough-mindedness and discipline. ~ Servant Leadership by Robert K. Greenleaf  
( Notice the wonderful serendipity of his last name?)

Greenleaf was not writing about gardening, but about leadership, specifically leadership that is marked by integrity and caring.

One hears the retort too often these days, "Whatever."

Generally, what is being implied is, "I could not care less."

What a shame, and what a waste.  Caring is a basic human need that has been often erased by the self-centered, blase attitude of our society.  I am reminded of the old joke:

1st person - Do you know that the two worst problems we are facing today are ignorance and apathy?

2nd person - I don't know and I don't care.
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When we care, really care, whether for plants, or pets, or persons, wonderful things can happen.

Yesterday, while planting marigolds, I saw, for the first time in my life, a baby hummingbird.  This little thing was no more than an inch and a half long; but there he or she was flitting busily around my verbena and lantana, snacking here, sipping there ... and I tell you, my heart expanded. Soon the mother bird, soared in and guided the little thing home.

Just because I cared enough to plant and water those growing gifts of beauty, I was given the gift of seeing something truly special.
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How much more should we care about one another?  Jesus said, in reference to two little sparrows, "Fear not.  You are of much more value than these ... and yet not one of them falls to the ground, but what my Father notices."  He encourages us to cast our cares upon Him, because he cares for each of us.  

How then can we shrug off another person's grief or misery with a callous "whatever."?  I don't know; but too often we do.

As Greenleaf rightly points out, this caring is a demanding business, and too frequently we flee before its demands.  It is so much easier to avoid involvement with an airy "whatever."
But guess what?  Every time we do this, and I am as guilty as anyone else, we miss the opportunity to witness something wonderful.  Something special may happen when we care.

It could be sighting a baby hummingbird.  Or even more wonderful, it could be the chance to witness someone smile after a long season of sorrow.  Or share a story with you, after long remaining silent.  The possibilities are endless.  Let's not waste them.
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Hope your day is filled with caring and sharing.  Until next time, Marsha - your grateful gardener


  1. Congrats on establishing a nice garden and caring for it and the birds. A very good message in this post. We have just been to a neighbourhood Watch meeting in the local bush park on the most beautiful sunny, blue sky day. WE were reminded of how to care for our own safety and especially others in our community. It was a rewarding feeling to know the members at the meeting care for one another.

  2. I loved this post! I get the joy of seeing things burst into beauty, and the joy of seeing a baby hummingbird. I really appreciated your additional thoughts on caring. Not caring is a very sad thing that seems to be happening more in this age.

  3. I am a Black Thumb, and so I am greatly impressed by your gardening success! And I really enjoyed the lessons you taught. Caring is difficult work - and I am in a *season* of caregiving for my widowed mother. It's taxing and frustrating and sometimes downright menial drudge. But, in the words of your granddaughter, "TOTALLY worth it."

    I'm so glad that God gives us the strength to do what we have to do. And I'm rather glad that He hasn't given up on pruning me, weeding out the junk, and helping me to blossom with His good works.


  4. So enjoyed this post- we, too, are having a wonderful time with all our plants and flowers blooming. Keep writing, dear lady, keep writing!