The famous statement of Forrest Gump, you know, "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what your going to get", always struck me as a little off. While it may be true that life has it surprises, I think a garden is a much better metaphor for life.
Think about it. Life involves choices, and choices have outcomes. A garden involves choices -
Well you get the picture. Every step of the way we make choices that effect the outcome of our garden, and we realize that, while the sun and weather are out of our hands and in His, we use what we have to be productive and fruitful.
I will give you an example from the Fife homestead. We raise chickens for meat and for eggs and have them pastured on the back portion of our property. We are somewhat surrounded by farmland, which invites predators who could decimate our flock. Early on, I decided to err on the side of protection and purchased an electric poultry netting that limits the chickens from getting into our tomato crop, but also keeps the pesky predators at bay. This investment allows us to maintain feed and water and move the chickens as needed, while keeping our productive property safe.
Another example lies in the potato patch. Potatoes are a funny plant that grows underground, unlike tomatoes which grow up. A potato crop will fail without mounding the soil around the base of the plant - and proper care leads to larger potatoes and more productive bunches. Maintaining a potato crop requires regular care and simply cannot be neglected. Choosing to grow potatoes means choosing to maintain potatoes. Is there a life lesson there or what?
Taking these two examples, and the fact that we are now in July and in maintenance mode with the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers (actually canning now!), potatoes, fruit trees, chickens, and lest we forget, the lawn - we can see how life is truly like a garden. Our chickens teach us about raising children, and how we are called to tend and protect them - and our poultry netting is a solid lesson in proper boundaries for our families and the world. Our potatoes on the other hand teach another lesson, that proper maintenance is required and that the choice to raise a family means maintaining relationships and supplying for the needs of our families - spiritually, mentally, and physically.
So, while life may be like a box of chocolates at times - it is more like a garden...all of the time.