Gardens of Thought
Have you ever been frustrated with the thought: “Why can’t “they” understand what I am saying? If only “they” would think like I do! It would all be okay.” Have you ever stopped to think of the implications of that kind of scenario? I did, and when I thought this through I was startled with what I discovered.
When everyone has the same thought or opinion, where is the challenge? Where is the growth! A person stops developing. A discussion develops only when everyone does not have the same opinion. However, to bring thoughts together for mutual growth is the challenge. The ideal scenario would be that that each person with their differing opinions and thoughts is there for the mutual learning, sharing, and growth of the other and themselves.
This has been slow to develop in this culture. People are not encouraged to have different thoughts. For example in public school system children are fed the information they are to learn. Later students are required to reflect back exactly what the teacher/professor has presented them to get a passing mark to the next level. There is rarely encouragement for the student to discuss the various thoughts that arise out of the presented concept. This way of learning and conversing moves into our society and personal discussions with others. The whole idea of open discussion threatens the intellectual and emotional security of conversants. The sharing of ones idea’s versus telling the other person – “this is how it is going to be, this is my brand of truth and it is the only truth” – forced upon the listeners mind. For an impressionable child there is no defense against this.
There is only one
who has a right to the “only truth.” His is the “only truth” and His name is Jesus. Yet even He laid His thoughts on the table and invited listeners to share in the discovery of what they may hold for them. This is choice. The eyes open– the specific truth, tasted, relished, and seen– and open heartedly received. The way of truth is to have a thought, a concept brought into the light, looked at, discussed and then the choice can be made whether to receive the thought. It cannot be forced.
Not one of us, no one, absolutely no one has the full handle of truth. Therefore, in any circle of shared thoughts there must be humility. There must be a deep humbleness of heart and mind in both the giving and the receiving of thought.
In humility we all must be ready to let others observe and experience our gardens of thought. We must be willing to share the seed when invited too and receive seed when offered.
When a person is offering thoughts to others there must be a consideration of the heart of the receiver. When offering seed to be planted, nourished, and grown to maturity, the giver must realize the message this action brings to the receiver, “I trust you have it in you to plant and grow this thought, to share of its fruit.” Thoughts not shared are like seeds not sown. Stored and saved but of no value to any. The question we are being invited to examined is, “Are you willing to receive the seed others produce to enhance the garden of your mind? ”
With the offering comes a responsibility.
Many persons have offerings for your garden of thoughts. Care must be taken that you know what the particular seed will produce. Observe the giver’s garden before you accept. Can you recognize the plant? Once a thought is planted it is hard to gather up all the resulting seed and roots to remove it. Be careful what the seed of the thought may produce. Some seed is better gotten rid of if they end up weeds and infect the garden.
Sometimes we are able to give a fully developed plant though it may be delicate and difficult to transplant. Many things can go wrong and the plant may not root properly. This gesture, of trying to transplant a fully developed thought/plant, may tell the receiver that you may not trust them. That somehow they are less capable than you are; that they are unable to grow the seed to a complete plant themselves.
Be careful how you share.
Arrogant sharing does not instill confidence in growth. There is a danger that the receiver will become dependent upon you to keep and cultivate their garden. They may eventually relinquish ownership therefore hindering all. You may not be able to keep up with your garden and theirs causing both to fall into disrepair.
Go, help and share in the joy of each other’s garden, as long as the ownership stays in the right hands.
When invited to another’s garden,
be respectful of the paths laid. Consider well where you trod with your foot so as not to trample on their carefully cultivated plants. Even if you do not see or perhaps recognize the flower’s worth or value. You will not be invited back; the gates will become closed to you. You will miss in the sharing of its treasures.
Be careful whom you let into your garden
but also who you lock out. In humility consider all but in wisdom observe the fruits of their garden. Do not force your gift of thought onto someone else. It fails then to be a gift and speaks of arrogance and self-inflation. Be careful, be gentle, be invited and mostly be humble.
Fear may keep you from accepting when invited into another’s garden of thoughts, or when considering inviting someone into your own. Be courageous but wise. Invitations may stop if the offer is regularly turned down, or your own gate consistently closed.
Locking the gate does not keep the garden safe or the weeds out. Regularly tend your garden. Constant loving, nurturing care makes for a beautiful inviting garden. Cultivate your plants, work the soil, eliminate weeds, nourish the roots, care for the paths and all who may come there may enjoy a time of blessing, and possible rest leaving with a treasure of their own. It may be that they will leave you a treasure, a gift of thought to add to your own garden if thoughts.