Letting Go

Letting Go

The other day, I was in my garden tying up the tomato plants. This is something I shouldhave done in June. I looked around at the weeds and twisted vines and wished I had spent more time in the garden this summer. I get to this point every year towards the end of August.  The garden is such a mess of greenery I can barely see the vegetables.

I made a mental checklist for next May. Actually, it wasn’t entirely mental. I told the kids what I was thinking, but I’m pretty sure they weren’t paying attention.
I started to get inspired for next year’s growing season. I imagined how great our garden would look next year, when I finally achieved what I’d been trying for years.
Sounds a little bit like the trap I mentioned in my last post, but I didn’t quite realize that at the time. It seemed so romantic and attainable.
How wonderful to grow our own food! It’s like feeding your soul! To pick ripe vegetables and cook and eat them just a few feet away. To be in the sunshine and fresh air! Never mind the sweat dripping down my face and dirt making its way into the new gloves I thought were free of holes. No matter that I could be spending this time reading with the kids. Don’t think about the stress I feel when I look out my kitchen window and see all the weeds I’m ignoring. The “shoulds” and “oughts” that pop into my head when I send my children out to pull them while I stay inside to wash the dishes or vacuum up dog hair.
Then, another thought occurred to me.
I could be writing.
When I got back from the Montrose Christian Writers Conference, I was consumed with helpful self-evaluation concerning my life as it is now.  I wondered what things I could let go in order to allow more time in my schedule for writing.
I told Todd, “I’m just going to be a messy housekeeper from now on. I’m going to stop caring about the mess.”
“No, you’re not!” He laughed at me.
That’s not to say I’m a perfect housekeeper. Far from it. But I cannot ignore messes. Or maybe just certain types of messes. Regardless, that’s something I can’t let go.
I can let go some of the food prep. I can make simpler meals, requiring less time in the kitchen, less cleanup.
Cooking does feed my soul, though. There are times I want to make an elaborate dish or bake an amazing cake. And then I can take hold of that and cook or bake with joy!
But I can let go of the garden. In early spring, when I look ahead to the summertime, I don’t imagine beautiful moments spent pulling weeds alongside my children. That doesn’tfeed my soul.

Soaking up the sun while I read on the beach? You bet!
Hiking in the woods? Absolutely!
Kayaking? Swimming? Campfires? Yes! Yes! Yes!
Writing on the porch while the kids play in the baby pool? Perfection!
But pulling weeds? Not so much.
I could let go of the ideal in my mind. It’s never existed in reality. We could join a CSA and eat someone else’s homegrown vegetables. Support the local farmers who are working so hard.
Let the garden become grass next year. Make it a volleyball court.
Like the slow dawn of a new morning, I realized it would be okay if we don’t plant a garden at all next year.
Don’t get me wrong. Gardening is good. Canning your own food is great. In another life I would be a die-hard homesteader!
I would also name my children Journey, Leaf, and Willow.
But we only get one life. Our time on this earth is finite. I want to tell the stories bursting from my heart. I can’t do that if I’m too busy canning applesauce. Or if I’m weighed down by the stress of thinking I should be pulling weeds. So I’m going to let that go for now. 

I’m going to rest in the knowledge that I don’t have to do it all. I just have to do what I’m called to. I will keep learning this lesson. And I’ll keep sharing it with you.

What can you let go to make room for something better?


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