Lesson Number Three: Doing Things With Consistency
On May 17th the confirmation students and I planted the last of our seeds in the ground. They joined the pumpkin and tomato plants that were already in the beds. The confirmands added spinach, lettuce, carrots, beans, peas, cucumbers and zucchini. I watered every other day after that, and then left for my cousin’s wedding in New Jersey on May 24th with nary a second thought to the growing seeds. When I returned to church on May 30th I found parched, dry earth. 3 of my tiny tomato plants had died, 2 of my herbs were brown crisps, and it looked like most of the pumpkin plants had died, too. I was horrified. Hadn’t it rained while I was away? No, it hadn’t.
A church member called on June 3rd and asked, “when was the last time you watered?” I replied that I watered 3 days that week, but she commented that the ground still looked thirsty. With that phone call I resolved to be more consistent with watering. I committed to watering daily. Another church member told me to give the plants a “long drink” instead of just a quick spray of the hose. This helps the roots to grow down deep, which makes for healthier plants. All of this was new to me.
My watering ritual took about 20 minutes, 15 of them spent just standing there watering the 130 sq. ft. of garden. It was boring at first. My mind raced with everything else “more important” that I could be doing. And then, after a few days, I began to enjoy the quiet solitude of watering. It was 15 minutes to let my mind wander and to watch God grow the seeds into plants. 15 minutes of quiet where I’m not trying to multi-task or solve problems.
Now that I’m not the “Master Gardener” of the week I find myself missing the watering after 2 ½ weeks of my daily ritual.
A lot of the good we seek to do requires daily attention. It’s not glamorous, but it’s necessary. Think about the following examples: Stretching or other physical exercises, medicine prescribed by a doctor, Bible reading and praying, eating a certain way, practicing your musical instrument… all of these things are best when done daily. It is very hard to set aside the time, but the daily discipline of doing an activity will produce fantastic results- much better than a half-hearted attempt.
May this encourage you to set aside daily time to do what it is you need to do. Doing small things with consistency over time will produce amazing results.