Close to our house is a demonstration garden. It is sponsored by the county extension office, housed on a university campus. Volunteers, trained as Master Gardeners, take care of the garden.
It is an incredible place. The names of the areas create all the picture you need: Moonlight Garden; Cottage Garden; Grasslands; Prairie; Confectionery Herbs; Mountain Garden. This is a real garden, with real plants, facing real weather challenges, but with the intention of teaching people how to garden.
The teaching part is clear when you see that 95% percent of the plants have signs next to them. All the information necessary for a visitor to figure out what the plant is and to do further research is present. You can see the 16 varieties of columbine, for example, and see the colors and know the common name and variety and often the latin name.
We wandered through the garden this afternoon, looking, pointing, picturing, dreaming. We were the only ones there. Nancy came home inspired to garden. I came home with my own inspiration.
Faith is a hard thing for many people to talk about. Part of the challenge is that we feel like we have to prove something, that we have to convince others and ourselves of the truth. As I look at the garden, however, I realize that there is a place for tagging what is rather than debating it.
“That’s what faith in the middle of struggle looks like.”
“That person is living as if they have a real relationship with a real God.”
“This is a story that Jesus told.”
It gives people an opportunity to walk through and see what it would look like before they take it home and put it in their own garden. And there are no guarantees about what will happen with any given seed.
After all, there was a farmer who went out to broadcast seed. And some of it fell on the path and got trampled. And some of it fell into the patch where all the weeds were. And some of it fell where there was a thin layer of dirt on top of rocks. But some of it fell where there was rich loam.
(That was a Jesus story.)
And I realized today that faith tagging is part of what I do, in the same way the garden people tag plants.
Does that make sense?