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“Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow…” – Brené Brown

Since the first of August, I’ve already begun thinking about Fall — and then next Spring, which you would think is a jump… but let me explain.

I’ve been thinking about gardening, and I’ve been thinking about beauty.

Right now, and for the past two years, we have been growing mostly veggies in our garden — which has been pretty efficient and practical, but to be honest, it hasn’t been all that beautiful 🙂 Our yard is a far cry from the well-manicured lawn of the family who lives across the street from us.

We have some potted flowers and some marigolds in our raised beds to bring some color and brightness to the garden, but more recently, it’s been feeling like something is missing… maybe a little bit of beauty.

So I’ve been thinking, already, about next Spring, and how we can make our garden more beautiful next year.

It’s going to take some work.

I’ve started to think about which perennials we can grow, so I can make a plan, buy the bulbs, plant them, try to save them from any squirrels, and then wait for next Spring to see if it all works.

This idea of planting a bulb and waiting two seasons to see if it thrives  — or, really, just the idea of gardening in general — reminds me a lot about my spiritual life.

I want my spiritual life, my prayer life, to be practical and efficient, yes.

But I also want it to be beautiful, and I want it to bear some fruit.

I want it to be good for me, and I want it to be good for God.

Sort of like I want our garden to be beautiful and good for our family, and beautiful and good for people who stop by.

And I can just try to make my prayer life more beautiful by doing something small or big once — like going to Adoration or praying the Rosary once in a blue moon. Maybe that’s a little bit like buying annuals — the flowers that will last just a short while and won’t come back again next year.

But I think we need some more  in our gardens, and in our prayer lives too.

I think we need something that we put a little more effort into — by planning, and planting, and watering, and hoping.

What could that look like?

Maybe it looks like committing to go to daily mass a few times a week from now until winter, or maybe it looks like spending 5 minutes in the morning in prayer and solitude until you can commit to doing that for 10 minutes. Maybe it looks like praying a decade of the Rosary while you’re exercising. Whatever it is, I think it has to be something that you plan to do and commit to do for some time, cultivating it and amending the soil so to speak.

And if you think about it, if you do that for a while — maybe for a season or two — then it can become just like waiting for those Fall bulbs to bloom in the Spring time. If we do the work now, in our prayer lives, and keep doing it, it will be efficient and practical right now, and the spiritual fruits — or blooms and all their beauty — will come later. And I think some would agree, that even a little beauty will come from it right away — if you simply start today 🙂

And if you’re a gardener (you’re probably much more experienced than I!), then you also know that many perennials end up doubling in size each year, and you get to work on dividing those plants and either planting them in another spot of your garden — or — giving some of those beautiful plants to someone else.

That’s another thing we should be aiming to do in our prayer lives; growing it, and giving some of that fruit away — to our husbands, to our children, and our family and friends. We should be dividing (which, really, is multiplying!) the fruit of our spiritual labor to the ones closest to us as we all strive for Heaven.