The Love of the Gardner Part 2


Butter Is Better

It might be the Pavlovian theory at work since the title of this lettuce contains the word “butter.” It might even be that its texture is soft like butter, or maybe both. My butter lettuce is strong and pretty, the fruit of my labors backlit by the warm sun. I recently popped one of its silky rich green leaves into my mouth, expecting it’s sweet, fresh taste but instead was repulsed. It was so bitter; I forcefully returned it to the ground from whence it came. How could it look so good and be so horrible? That could be an interesting rabbit trail, but alas, I have a point. My lettuce was like the religious leaders in Matthew 23.

“you … outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.

Matthew 23:27 English Standard Version (ESV)

Butter To Bitter

I googled what could be wrong with my lettuce and found that the soil probably lacked enough water, fertilizer, nitrogen, or it’s too hot outside. I added some coffee grounds and fertilizer to help, watered them lavishly, and after a few days, I was excited to see new growth. With hope, I popped one of the fresh new leaves in my mouth. Nope, back to the ground, it went. The extra water, care, and nutrition didn’t help. I had to face the fact, it’s summer, the time of year that brings the heat and turns my butter to bitter. There are seasons in life that have run their course. No amount of care can resurrect them; they are taking up nutrients and resources for nearby plants and future crops. It’s time to remove them.

Plucking and Planting

Today, I’m pulling out my beloved butter lettuce. It’s time to prepare now for my Fall harvest. Just like my lettuce, how many things, ideas, seasons of our lives are no longer useful? Maybe it’s a mindset that doesn’t serve us anymore; perhaps it’s a stage of life or a toxic job situation that we don’t want to let go. Maybe we’ve grown out of our partying friends, eating poorly, prejudices, old political affiliations, judgments, and our bitterness. Justifying hate or poor treatment of a human being because of their melanin, hair color, religion, or political affiliation, or their behavior shouldn’t be in our lives. If we have bitterness in our lives, it’s because we are feeding something that no longer needs to be in the garden of our lives. It’s time to move forward and pluck that up and plant new crops.

My beautiful butter lettuce.
Plucking up my beautiful butter lettuce

Plucking And Planting

I hate wasting time and money. I don’t give up quickly, and even something like pulling up lettuce it difficult, even painful for me. It’s even tougher if it looks healthy, pretty, and productive. Without a vision for what to plant next, it’s especially tempting to leave that green plant in my garden. Not only is that pretty green lettuce competing with my productive plants for nutrients, but I also need to prepare the soil my new fall crop. Starting over is bare, tedious, and unrewarding, but it’s necessary for a healthy future. If we keep our old bitter ways and mentalities, we prevent ourselves from enjoying the new seasons and their fruits.

See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;

Hebrews 12:15 English Standard Version (ESV)


God, my living Gardner, I come before you. I ask that you help me to identify the bitter things in my life that are no longer serving a purpose. They are past their season and are now taking my energy, my time, and my space. Help me to see the new things I need to plant. I give it to you, the injustice, and the unforgiveness. Give me the courage to face and pluck up what doesn’t serve you in my life.

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