Wednesday, August 3, 2011

When is Failure a Failure?

Our state is in a drought again this year. Most all of the neighbors
around us have lost their gardens, just as we did. The hot temperatures
and lack of rain was devastating on the plants. In our garden, the
squash grew and bloomed wonderfully, only to lose their blooms and not
produce any squash. The tomatoes were attacked by a strange looking
wood beetle that took a small bite out of the still growing green
tomatoes, making them rot on the vine. Even the onion patch suffered.
Was this a failure? Depends on your perspective.

Each time we try something and it doesn't go as planned, we have
opportunity to learn. Like other areas in our lives, the gardens
provided the promise of good things, yet became a tough challenge.
Because of the lack of enough water and the extreme heat, the plants
failed to completely grown and produce. We could look at it as a
complete failure, focusing on the loss of money, seeds, and other
resources. It wasn't a true failure though. We learned something from

We are going to relocate the garden from the large area behind the house
to a different area where the garden will have a lot of morning and
early afternoon sun. In the hottest time of day, the garden will have
some shade to prevent the plants from getting burnt out from the heat.
Yes, most garden plants like full sun, but they will only be shaded in
the mid-late afternoon. The morning and early afternoon sun will be
more than ample for the garden to grow properly. The garden will be
planted in large boxes made from pallets as well as the shipping crates
we have. This will eliminate much of the weeding while still giving a
good harvest. It is slightly higher maintenance in that you have to
water the plants more often, but the benefits are worth it.

So, when is a failure a failure? The moment that things don't work out
as planned and you don't accept the opportunity to change and improve
yourself. When you stop picking yourself up, trying to find the reasons
things didn't go well, and working to eliminate the obstacles, then you
have failed.

In the self-sufficiency lifestyle, there is no room for falling down and
not picking yourself back up again. It is through our perceived
failures and challenges that we learn the most and are able to move past
them. We learn to find a better way to accomplish our goals. Nothing
is a total waste as long as we are able to gain knowledge from it. We
have to take a step back at times, looking at the situation with
realistic eyes and not those of a dreamer. Figure out where we made an
error and how to avoid that mistake again.

It is much like life in general. We all make mistakes or life hands us
a situation that knocks us down. Do we stay down? No! We stand up,
dust ourselves off and try again. We make adjustments wherever needed
and give it another go. Over time, we see the improvements. It is much
like our life in our faith. We make mistakes and commit a sin. The
Lord helps up stand back up on our feet. We acknowledge Him in our life
and if necessary, ask the Lord to help us to see where we made the
error. If we want to avoid that mistake again, we pray and ask
forgiveness then do our best to learn from that situation so we won't
repeat it.

Maybe the hardest lesson of all is this - how to have less of a
"self-reliant" life and more of a "God-reliant" life. In this way,
learning to depend less on our own knowledge and efforts while learning
to give credit to the Lord in all things. We need to realize that the
Lord is the one who blesses our efforts. What we gain is a gift from
Him. Not something that we did without the Lord's blessing and can be
prideful in, taking all credit unto ourselves.



Bean said...

Our garden has not done well this year, our green bean plants came up but have not produced one green bean, in a normal year I can about 90 pints of beans. Our tomatoes are small and just starting to ripen, I don't anticipate a bountiful crop. Onions did fine, potatoes okay, cabbage fantastic, peas were a disaster, peppers are all very small. It has been a very hot, very dry summer. Our corn has been ravaged by deer!! I have noticed that every year some things do well and others don't, for instance our grape vines have loved the hot dry summer so we will have a lot of grape jelly this winter, but the peas hated it.

I think gardeners are very optimistic people, we think and plan our garden all winter, we can't wait to get out in early spring to till and plant, we get so excited when plants emerge from the ground and around the end of July we get a reality check, but you know what there is always next year :)
Watching seeds that you planted a week ago start to emerge from the ground and seeing them in a month or so turned into vigorous growing large plants never ceases to amaze me and the garden is a wonderful place to pray and meditate upon the wonders of creation that we are blessed with by Our Lord.

Blessings to you,

PocketsoftheFuture said...

Wonderful post. Thank you. I have changed July 4th in our home to "Inner Dependence Day." We do something towards self-sufficiency on the outside each year while being especially mindful of our dependency on Him on the inside. Most people have it backward these days, don't you think?