It’s mid-June and my garden is still not planted.
In my defense, we had an unseasonably cold spring. Case in point, I was toweling snow off my dog mid-April.
Then we had rain. A lot of rain.
And it was the end of school which is always busy for me both as a mom and a teacher.
And then I was finishing up revisions on my novel.
The truth is, I haven’t planted my garden for about three years, so the grass it displaced had decided to reclaim its space. Instead of just digging up lightly rooted weeds from one season, I had to dig a lot deeper to clear out grass and weeds that had rooted deeply. (there’s probably a lesson there and maybe I’ll blog about that later).
I kind of put it off much of the morning.
Lingering over my coffee. Reading another chapter in the current good-for-me book I’m reading. But finally, I put on my work clothes, popped in my earbuds, and went outside.
The first obstacle I faced was finding my shovel and unearthing my wheelbarrow. In fact, I had to call my husband because even though I went into our shed TWICE, I couldn’t find it. I had to move A LOT of stuff out of the way and wrestle that wheelbarrow from underneath all the stuff (on a side note, I do wonder why we have so many empty boxes in our shed).
Finally, I had the wheelbarrow and my shovel. My gardening gloves had long since disappeared, so I decided to wing it.
The original wood that enclosed my single raised bed garden was rotted and old. I had bought a raised bed kit, so I broke down that old wood. Left was a patch of raised weeds and grass, their roots tightly woven together into one big matted square.
I started to try to dig up this grass.
I’m not in the best physical shape (one of my goals this summer is to change that). Walking my dog for 20-30 minutes every day just doesn’t prepare you for manual labor – at least not this woman!
Digging up that 4 by 4-foot patch was A LOT harder than it looked. Some areas were looser and came free with a minimum of effort, but other areas seemed determined not to be moved.
After several sessions of digging and chopping at this mess, I started thinking that maybe I’d have to give up. After all, I didn’t want to have a heart attack or something and just keel over in the backyard!
I came back into the house to take a break. As I sat there trying to catch my breath and figure out what to do – try again or call it quits – it occurred to me that maybe what I needed was not more muscle, but a sharper edge to get the job done.
It was amazing the difference it made. Don’t get me wrong – it was still hard work. Even using that hoe, I was still working up a good sweat, but it was SO much more effective.
After clearing the second half of that space in literally half the time, I came back into hydrate and take a breather. As I sat down to drink my water bottle and do a little Facebook scrolling (hey, I earned it!), it hit me.
So many times when we are stuck, it’s not that we are doing the wrong thing. It’s that we are using the wrong tools.
When we are frustrated or discouraged because something seems way harder than it should be, it’s so easy to want to give up. Whether that thing is a job or a relationship or a dream.
It’s so easy to keep doing what we’ve always been doing, trying harder and harder until we just can’t anymore.
But maybe what we need isn’t a new path or person or situation. Maybe what we need to do is back up and see if we are using the most effective tools for the job.