Once upon a time there was a Kingdom in which each person was entrusted with a garden to care for. At a young age, each child was taught how to care for a garden and how to keep it beautiful. When the appointed time came, the King gave him a garden of his own, to take care of for the rest of his life.
In this kingdom, there was a young boy that loved to garden. He would spend as much time as he could planting flowers like bluebells and yellow zinnias, but also pulling weeds to keep his garden beautiful for the King and for the kingdom. He knew that his garden was important along with all the rest to helping create a beautiful kingdom.
Although his garden, along with many others, was weed free and full of gorgeous flowers, there were some gardens that were unkept. Not everyone embraced their hard, but important role of tending to their garden and so sadly there were patches of the kingdom overcome with so many weeds that it would be hard for it to be restored.
Sometimes the young boy would see other boys running in the streets, and for a fleeting second wanted to run after their calls, but then that moment would pass along with the boys and he went back to his task.
One hot day as the young boy was tending to some particularly stubborn weeds, some boys came up to the gate and tried to entice him. “Come play with us,” they called, “we are going swimming and wouldn’t you rather go cool off with us then sweating over those stubborn weeds? Just give up already. Those weeds are just going to continue invading your garden. You’ll never win.”
Under the hot sun and the hard task ahead of him he was tempted. The boys were right, he has been fighting these weeds for as long as he could remember. Maybe if he just went swimming this once it wouldn’t hurt. He would just work extra hard tomorrow.
Before he knew it he was running through the streets with the wind whipping around his face and neck as they headed to the stream. The water felt good on his sweaty body, but he also felt guilty that he left his garden behind. “I’ll do it tomorrow, don’t worry about it,” he told himself. But once he experienced the feeling of not working all day in his garden, it was easy to let go.
The next day he had the opportunity of going fishing for the first time. He was excited to try it and after checking to see that the weeds had not gotten that much worse, he decided to go. Each day he began to think of more excuses for not working and soon weeks passed and then months and he forgot about his garden and the flowers disappeared.
Without even realizing it, he started to slip into the ways of the boys on the streets and began stealing food and disrespecting others. He forgot about his assigned role in the kingdom and he even forgot about his King up in the castle.
One day as he ran out to meet his friends he stumbled over a vine in his garden. As he crashed to the ground a little flash of pink caught his eye. Underneath the almost dead bush was the last petal of a pink camellia, the last of the color left in his whole garden.
It then hit him what he had lost. His garden was in ruins and all he had left to show of it was the little pink petal. He had become lazy and fallen into temptation and there was nothing he could do to restore the beauty. It was too overcome with weeds.
As tears of sorrow and regret were rolling down his cheeks, he heard footsteps on the dried leaves. As he looked up, he saw a hand reach out towards him. The hand of a magnificent king. The hand of his King. He reached up and was taken into the arms of his King as he cried, “My King I’m sorry. I failed and now my garden is hopelessly lost.”
The King responded with love in His eyes, “You have not failed, you have fallen. But since you’ve turned to me there is hope and with me your garden can be reborn and you can start anew. With that the King helped the boy to restore his garden and make it more beautiful than it had ever been, filled with daffodils, lily-of-the-valleys, and many other flowers that have never been seen before.
Life can be hard and weeds try to invade, but stay strong and turn to the King for strength, for everyone has a purpose in this world and we need your unique flowers to give it beauty.
Note to Reader:
This story was inspired from my summer job as a gardener. I planted flowers and vegetables, pulled weeds, and gathered the fruit. It was through the hours in the sun that I realized how much a garden is like our souls. Our soul may be filled with flowers of virtue or weeds of sin. Everyday is a battle against temptations to let those weeds in. It is hard and sometimes we falter and fall, but our loving God is watching out for us and is always there to pick us up if we just have the strength and hope to lift up our eyes to Him and reach out for His forgiveness and strength. I wanted to share this story with you in hopes that you will not give up on your little garden and continue to spread flowers of joy and love to everyone around you.
**If you look throughout the story, specific flowers were referenced to symbolize the stages of the boy’s journey and what he was going through
Yellow Zinnia – Daily Remembrance
Bluebells – Humility
Pink Camellia – Longing for You
Lily-of-the-Valley – Sweetness; Tears of the Virgin Mary; Return to Happiness; Humility; You’ve Made My Life Complete
Daffodil – New Beginnings; Rebirth