I love gardening. I’m not sure what part is my favorite; planning, shopping, digging in the dirt, watching things grow or enjoying the fruits (and veggies) of my labor.
I also love when irrigation is free. We’ve experienced much needed rain recently so these babies have it good right now.
I didn’t go out to visit the garden the past two days because of the rain and the blessing of time with a visiting friend. But today this is what I discovered
Although I couldn’t see the trails of glistening slime I knew this to be the work of the dreaded garden nemesis: the Snail.
I can deal with weeds (I have learned much about my heart from weeds) I am an organic gardener so pulling instead of spraying is my way. I have dealt with a variety of pests by spraying a non-toxic soap on the leaves of plants. I have also used marigolds and lady bugs to help with pest prevention with great results.
But snails! Just ewww! The best thing I ever did with snails was pay my sons to pick them, put them in a bucket and we took them to a pond where ducks visited. Ducks love snails. Isn’t that nice? I don’t love snails. I’ve used jar lids of beer (they’re gluttonous so they drink themselves to death) and I’ve also used copper tape with moderate success. When their slime gets on the tape it actually gives them a mild shock so they back away from the tape. Both of those you have to keep up with like weeding because the beer will evaporate and the tape will oxidize and lose its effectiveness. This time it will be copper tape.
A thought occurred to me this morning as I asked the question of my poor peas: it wasn’t just what’s eating them? What’s been eating me?
This past weekend my hubster and I attended a Family Life conference called The Art of Marriage. The material was so worthwhile. We had decided to go in part for the material but the bigger part was to meet new people from church and connect with others whom we had already met. Good enough reasons to spend a Friday night and the better part of Saturday together and away from home.
When the event was over, the hubster and I took a detour on the way home and stopped by OSH to get a part he needed for a project. I of course detoured through the garden center. It’s what I do.
As I wandered through I saw lovely 6 packs of marigolds so I chose two different colors to inter-plant for pest prevention. While I was wandering I was experiencing growing discontent; the opposite response for me when I see and walk among plants. I didn’t like how I was feeling but I didn’t know what was up. As the evening progressed so did my yucky discontented undercurrent. I talked it through with the hubster and got to vent a bit: none of it was about him or us. I felt better getting some blegh out.
It remained with me for 4 days. Souring my days. Preoccupying my thoughts. Discoloring my experiences. It was eating me. Like a slimy, good only for ducks snail.
I’d experienced the effects of what was eating me but I hadn’t found it out. But God…when I had cried out to Him was quick to show me what was going on; like taking a flashlight out to the garden at night and catching the snails in the act!
I had expectations that I hadn’t been aware of and because they weren’t met, I was cranky like a disappointed child.
What are the expectations you have? They might be for your marriage. Your children’s behavior. Your friendships. Your family members.
Can you name them? Identifying what your expectations are is huge. Most of us operate from a set of expectations that we aren’t even truly aware of until something doesn’t work.
What do you do with unmet expectations? That is a great question and one that is a real process question to unpack. It depends. That is a lame answer I know but it’s true. I’ve faced the silent monster many times. I’ve handled it well and mostly not so well. This feeling of being eaten up is awful and hurts me just like it hurts the life of the plants.
This is how it’s worked this time:
I talked with a trusted friend who knows me well and holds my heart and thoughts sacred. My hubster.
I prayed asking the Lord to show me what was up. He is faithful.
I confessed to Him my hurts and how I was allowing them to poison my thoughts about others.
I admitted my vulnerability to the small group we are a part of; that was the hardest part–risking with near strangers. But that is the only way to be in real community is by taking risks to be known.
My process is still happening; there isn’t a quick fix for life, sorry to say. But I know that bringing the issues to the Light is the Best Way of moving forward and learning how to deal with what’s eating me.
What’s eating you?