[I]f you’ve been wondering why it has been radar silent here on Art, Life & Faith for the past few weeks, it’s because I’m in an unexpected new season of life. In agricultural terms, I’m in the midst of a ‘perfect storm.’ As many of you know, The Grove Center for the Arts & Media is a ministry to artists that I serve. And what makes The Grove unique is that we really do have a grove. Twelve acres of avocados and organic lemons which require constant cultivating, weeding, feeding, watering, and trimming for every new season. Thus, for the past month (as noted by my agri-absence), my hands have not been at the keyboard, but manhandling a weed whacker and chainsaw. I’m in a busy season of cultivating about 1600 trees…what season of life are you in? A busy season? A peaceful season? A fragmented season? Read on…
If you want to cultivate a beautiful life, it’s very important to periodically ask yourself, “What season of life am I in right now?” Just stopping to ask that question can dramatically affect your choices and what you choose to do with your time. Let me share my perfect storm example…
About six weeks ago, it became remarkably clear to me that a perfect storm of manual labor was brewing at our avocado and organic lemon property. There was way more work to be done than in the average year…
- Recent rains and ensuing heat led to the sudden rise in weeds (which I had just mowed down!).
- The weeds must be cut to keep the snails off the lemon trees (cowardly shell-hiding slugs!).
- The lemon trees were so heavy with fruit that limbs were breaking…time to trim the lemon trees. Lots of fruit. A good problem.
- The avocados need to be picked, but there is a migrant labor shortage in California. Which is why I have 4 children.
- We need to stump (see photo) 100 forty foot avocado trees to make the trees more fruitful (Read John 15) and save on the water bill.
- Ready to join me?
Throw in an hour drive from my home in San Clemente to Valley Center (North San Diego), where our grove is located and the day goes by pretty fast.
In the past month, I also had a Grove Getaway artist retreat and our monthly Grove Artist Gathering. Very quickly, I realized that something had to give, which was my writing. But only for a season.
What season are you in right now? In your family and key relationships? In your marriage? In your work and church life? In your relationship with God?
Honestly, when I realized how much work had to be done at the grove, I wanted to run for the hills and hide. It was simply too overwhelming.
If you’re in a difficult season of life right now, you need to get creative.
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For me, I came to the point where I just embraced what was before me. I’ve said ‘no’ to more appointments. I gave myself space and grace with how much writing I think I need to do. I’ve brought my friends and family to work on the property with me. I’ve hired more help when I can.
Instead of looking at how much work I have to do and complaining about it, I’ve tried to look at all the great outcomes…yes, the fruit of it all…I get to exercise. I have a beautiful drive along the coast and into the country. I pray and listen to worship music I love (U2 is worship music!). I look for cool “wow” moments from God like the beauty of golden poppies, a hawk flying overhead, and a cool breeze when I’m drenched with sweat.
All these small moments make for an abundance of spiritual and practical life lessons I’m learning as I cultivate our grove.
If you’re in a great season of life right now, be thankful and praise the Lord. If you’re overwhelmed, those lemon trees in the photo may offer a bit of encouragement…
When I’m standing at a long row of lemons with knee-high weeds and feeling overwhelmed at the hand-to-hand combat to come, I just keep telling myself, “One tree at a time…one tree at a time…”
For whatever season of life you’re in, just take one tree at a time. One step at a time.
You’ll find more fruit grows when you don’t resist the season you’re in. Embrace it.
Give yourself space and grace.
God offers it to you in abundance today.
Questions: What season of life are you in right now? Are you embracing or resisting it? What does this season offer you right now?
I’d love your comments and feedback.
(If you know someone in a difficult season of life right now, consider forwarding this post to them. I hope it offers them the encouragement they need today.)