Our garden is starting to look lush and green again, now that harvest is at hand for the winter vegetables.
It’s mostly beets… the cilantro didn’t grow this year, the carrots only made half-hearted attempts at it, and the one stand of dill that made it is off in the other corner of the raised bed. I do miss the cilantro, but beets are better than nothing I suppose! The effusion of green helps lift my spirits, though, even if half of what I planted never grew, and beets are lovely plants.
These particular beets ought to be ready to pull and eat by now, but the few that we’ve tried have been all leaves and no beets. It’s rather disappointing, even though beet greens are also good to eat, to find no dark red bulb waiting beneath the soil like hidden treasure. The soil was finally loose and rich (and not clay!) this year, which was our problem in past years; I think perhaps it was too rich as I recall reading somewhere that excess nitrogen can cause root vegetables to overproduce leaves instead. But who knows.
It makes me wonder if my life has (or can have) the same sort of imbalance – an overproduction of the things that look good from a distance, or in a casual acquaintance, and an absence of the things that are hidden and deep. Do I put all my energy and resources into looking like a good mom when I’m out in public, or do I give significantly of myself in loving and guiding my children at home when no one is watching? Is my goal to be known by my church community as someone who knows the Bible and has all the answers ready, or is my goal to know and love God and His words and His people? Do I work hard at home and at my job for the praise and appreciation of my family and coworkers, or for the inner satisfaction of excellence? To be honest with you, it’s often a struggle. I want both things, of course – both the leafy greens and the red beets are good! But when I have finite time and limited resources, I’m tempted to devote myself to the cultivation of greens at the expense of the beets: to make sure everything looks okay instead of making sure everything is good and right under the surface and behind the scenes. And in so doing, I end up with the same unfortunate imbalance from which my garden suffers, as beautiful as it is above ground.