Tuesday, April 16, 2013

N is for...

We've got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant.
You can't just accept it and leave it in the cupboard
or just think it's going to get on by itself.
You've got to keep watering it.
You've got to really look after it
and nurture it.
—John Lennon


Today’s A-Z Blog Challenge word is “NURTURE.” Various sources provide different meanings for the word, but let’s talk about this definition:

 to feed and protect or support and encourage.

My husband loves to garden. I’m not much of a hands-in-the-dirt kind of gal, but I love watching him communicate with the earth when he’s gardening.

It’s a process…and not an easy one. He begins by clearing the garden area of rocks, weeds, roots—anything that could choke out the seeds he plants and prevent their growth. Then he works the soil with a tiller, making it soft and loose, so sprouting plants won’t have such a hard time pushing through it. When it’s time, he plants the seeds, giving careful thought to placement and space between plants. Then begins the process of keeping the area hydrated. This takes thought and planning, because while the plants must have water to survive, too much water will kill them as surely as failure to water at all. And those weeds he cleared out before planting want to come back, especially as the ground becomes enriched with water, fertilizer, and pesticides. He keeps at it, battling the bad and encouraging the good. And then one day, there it is…the first sign of growth.
Now he can relax a bit, right?
Wrong. Those burgeoning sprouts renew hubby’s excitement, spurring him to pay even closer attention to the garden, which now begins to show its appreciation of all that love and attention by producing the veggies he seeded into its soil. And, as the regimen of careful attention and fortification continue, he is rewarded by an entire harvest of foods he planted himself.
Hubby's garden
 Having a good, productive garden requires a tremendous amount of nurturing.

Discussions about nurturing our children, animals, and yes—even our plants—are not uncommon. But other things require a little TLC, as well. Sometimes they aren’t things we tend to think about in terms of needing special attention.

One thing that comes to mind is a relationship.

As with anything else we want to keep alive and healthy, personal relations should be carefully tended. This includes everything from friends to family to sweethearts to spouses. No marriage ever failed that was properly tended, carefully cultivated, and lovingly nourished—by both parties. Friendships last when enough heartfelt attention is given them. Family ties don’t break when they’re strengthened by a sufficient amount of care and concern.

Here’s something important to remember: Making the nurturing process too difficult is not necessary. Some days, early in the gardening process, my husband didn’t have a lot to do. Don’t get me wrong—it was constant, but not exhausting every day. Sometimes he only needed to pull a couple of weeds. Other days, he found no weeds, but found evidence of critters getting into the garden, and that meant finding the hole in the fence and mending it…spraying a pesticide…putting out traps or other deterrents. The thing is, he had to stay on top of it. He couldn’t take a week off and just let the garden grow. Growth happens only when the conditions are conducive.

Relationships are much the same. They’re a process, right from the start, whether that bond is one of friendship, lineage, or romance. Much like hubby’s garden, they require a great deal of nurturing: effort and commitment; sufficient sustenance (without “over-watering,” which might smother the seed and prevent its growth); and an ongoing regimen of attention and interaction.
My farmer-guy spent time in his garden every day. Some days he didn't have a lot to do there, while other days demanded a lengthy stay. “People gardens” deserve that same kind of dedication: daily attention, a discerning eye for the little foxes that might be “spoiling the vine,” and a tenacious determination to make it a success.

What are some ways you can think of to nurture a relationship and keep it productive, interactive, healthy and happy?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the reminder. I'm gonna go nurture now.


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