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- Jonathan Lockwood Huie (jlh @sail7.com)

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

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Tending the Garden of Our Lives

We live in an age of instant gratification. When we are hungry, we drive in to McDonalds, or heat something in the microwave. When we want to be entertained, we switch on the television.

We also seek instant gratification in other arenas in which its success rate is abysmal. Buying lottery tickets is an example of this irrational striving for instant gratification. Unlike the fast-food window, lottery tickets very rarely pay out. The search for a romantic partner is also susceptible to being swept up in an urge for instant gratification. While some couples do "win the lottery" of instantly finding a great relationship, the odds are very much in favor of those couples who become solid friends with shared values before they become romantically involved.

Instant gratification is not the way of nature, and has not been the path of human advancement.

Preparation, Perseverance, and Patience are the path to success in nature and in our own lives. These "Three Ps" are what allows a gardener (and Nature) to turn a tomato seed into a tomato plant filled with beautiful, tasty, nutritious tomatoes. Prepare the garden at just the right time of year by carefully grooming the soil and removing all the rocks and weeds before planting the seeds. Persevere with the weeding, the watering, and a dash of fertilizer. And then have Patience. Tomatoes, and corn, and watermelons don't grow any faster if you yell at them to grow, or if you tell them how disappointed you are that they aren't growing faster. You can't get them to grow faster by force feeding them extra fertilizer or water. If you try that, you just burn them or drown them. Preparation, Perseverance, and Patience get you vegetables. Anything less - or more - gets you nothing.

Our lives are also a garden, and like a vegetable garden they require careful tending. Try applying the old fashioned values of Preparation, Perseverance, and Patience to your own life. See if you don't get far better results than when you seek instant gratification.

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