Beauty surrounds us, but we usually need to be walking in a garden to know it - Rumi
After last weeks stroll down memory lane we return this week to the garden.My wife and I are rather fond of lavender. Of course, its scent evokes memories of our late grandmothers and aunts as it was a favourite perfume in those days but it is also an easy shrub to grow. Each year it produces masses of beautifully scented flowers above silvery-grey foliage. In summer those scented flowers attract the honey bees that drink up the nectar whilst at the same time pollinating the plant.
The other year we planted a row of lavender shrubs interspersed with some other bedding plants. The overall effect was quite pleasing. The next year we were less pleased with the border as the lavender had grown well but the other bedding plants had been smothered. You see, unfortunately lavandula, to give it its proper name, can be a bit of a thug. We learned that if left to its own devices at the end of the flowering season it has a tendency to take over the ground nearby, strangling any thing that gets in its way.
Now, the General Confession of the Church of England includes the words “we have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts”. Just as the lavender is an easy plant to grow and indeed is a very beautiful one so our “devices and desires” can be easy to follow and indeed may hold a prospect of something beautiful at the end. Equally like the evergreen lavender those desires will remain with us. Now of course there is nothing wrong with desires, after all we all strive for a better life for ourselves and our children, but like the lavender they need to be controlled. Our life must be like a complete garden, not one overrun by lavender bushes or any other plant but one where each plant has its place to grow and develop its full potential. There is a fine line between wants and needs. God knows our needs just as He knows our desires. He will fulfil those needs but desires are another matter.
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years