Families and Gardens

26 September 2006: Tuesday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time Luke 8, 19-21: Whose family to us?

The Gospel today tells us the value of the family. We shall use the family here in broader definition: whether the family is blood-related (like our biological parents and siblings) or by association (like friends, the church as the ‘family of God’, the global family, etc.). In the Gospel, Jesus tells us that family can go beyond blood-relations. In fact, many family environments now are unusual. And many young men and women find other people more family than their biological family. Nevertheless, what make us family are the things that are common to us: sets of rules and norms as God’s commandments, traditions handed down from generations, and all other things that bring people together. The book of Proverbs which we have read in the 1st reading contains principles which the Jews lived by. The bible for Christians also acts the same way: it is the principle and norm of living. It is what makes us family. Perhaps, we can learn today how we can tend the relationships we hold dear by looking at the family like a nice piece of garden. I found this section in Charles R. Swindoll’s book, Living Beyond the Daily Grind.

An anonymous piece portrays the family as a garden. It suggests various things we can plant in our family relationships that will result in great benefits.

A family is like many things, perhaps most like a garden. It needs time, attention, and cultivation. The sunshine of laughter and affirmation. It also needs the rains of difficulties, tense moments, and serious discussions about issues that matter. And there must be spade work, where hardness is broken loose and planting of fresh seeds is accomplished with lot of TLC. Here are some suggestions for fifteen rows worth planting.

4 rows of peas:

5 rows of lettuce
Let us be faithful.
Let us be unselfish.
Let us be loyal.
Let us be truthful.
Let us be loving.

3 rows of squash:
Squash gossip
Squash criticism
Squash indifference

3 rows of turnips
Turn up with a smile.
Turn up with a new idea.
Turn up with determination

And then? Well, from then on it’s pretty simple. Water, weed, tend with care, and patiently watch the garden grow. Someday you’ll look back and realize it was worth all the years of all the work and effort and prayer. Like a lovely garden, your family will be a thing of grateful pride, of seasonal beauty, or daily sustenance.

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