Untended Garden

I went past the field of the sluggard, past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment; thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins.
I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw: A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest– and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.

Proverbs 24:30-34

Greetings, Lord.

I was afraid you might stop by my garden today.
I fear my conscience is soiled more by neglect
than my hands by honest labor.

I can offer You but little fruit.

My basket is filled instead

with opportunities to love that never matured,
with relationships now stunted for lack of nurture.

Father, I have not been entirely faithful with my garden.

I have learned where NOT to look too closely, what places to avoid:

where weeding is tiresome
and watering a daily chore,
where thorns bite my care
and rocks oppose my plan.

I didn’t know fruit required so much work!

I brought a hammock and shade umbrella,

not spade and hoe and pail.

I expected to sleep, not to sweat,

To get some rest, not some blisters!

Father, I am not proud of being lazy,

Not proud of taking for granted all you have given:

the things I possess,
my skills and opportunities,
even my health,
even my family,
even You.

Lord, I could promise to change …. tomorrow,

But it seems I did that yesterday, didn’t I?

So, Father, stay a while and help me if you will.

I shall work with You in my garden today.

(even though it is Sunday)
(maybe because it is Sunday)

This Sabbath, we will not rest

until we have cleared away some weeds and rubbish,
or repaired part of the protecting wall,
or supported a bruised reed, ready to break.

And if I find anything to eat while I am working,

I will savor its goodness with a glad heart
and share the fruit of my labor with You.


– Glenn Parkinson

4 thoughts on “Untended Garden”

  1. Oh, Glenn,
    Once again you have spoken to the feelings within me. This transition period since my official “retirement” (ie: my Dad’s death) has left me in a slurry of neglectfulness. Of course the quarantine didn’t help ! I find myself at a crossroad – opening another volume in the encyclopedic series of my life experiences.
    Thanks be to our Lord who knows “What’s next”!

    1. Glenn Parkinson

      Of course I don’t mind. You can share anything from this site.
      I’ve found it challenging to maintain a sharp spiritual focus since my retirement. Of course, I think I share that with lots of folks who have had routines shut down by the pandemic.

  2. Dear Friend,
    Your words have captured so many feelings I have had at this stage of my “gardening.”
    Thank you! I will be sharing with many seasoned gardeners!

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