In my vocation as wife and mother, God has given me three people to nurture, three little plants in to keep in my own little garden.
I keep a close eye on each one. I pick off the beetles and caterpillars. I cover them in the frost. I give each one the nutrients fit for the particular plant, watching soil acidity and drainage. Making sure that each receives the correct amount of water and sun. Under this discerning care, the plant thrives and produces its fruit.
At least that’s how my garden should be tended.
Sometimes I feel as though I’ve made an awful mess of my garden. I’ve treated my peppers the same way as my tomatoes while ignoring my pecan tree altogether, all the while tapping my toes, scowling while waiting for that fruit to drop into my crotchety crossed arms.
That is to say, I’m learning to love my family selflessly and the process takes time. Time and practice. You learn in the doing.
There are times in my marriage when my husband says something that, in some small way, by word or look or sigh, resembles a type of soft persecution. He loves me, but not always in the way that I want to be loved.
In my hurt pride I am tempted to withdraw my love and affection to weep and mourn remember to trust less next time, at least until he gives me what I think I deserve. I find I have a tremendous capacity for self pity.
But that is the exact opposite of what I should be doing.
He is not my enemy. We have a common enemy.
My duty is to love more and be patient and tend my pear tree with the same tenderness as I do my delicate sprouts.
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. Matthew 5:44-45