Julia and I both like tomatoes. In the past we had gardens, but not lately. For the past four or five years we have planted about three tomato plants and two or three Jalapeno pepper plants. We normally get our tomatoes from “farmer John” Steed. John normally has a big garden with lots of tomatoes and peppers, so we could get most of what we need from him. But Julia loved to plant the plants, so I would usually help her plant them and watch after them. I have been debating about whether I was going to plant any this year or not. I was really leaning toward not planting any, but the thought continued to bug me. This afternoon I went “plant shopping”. You would think that you could find everything you needed at the first place you went. Well we usually had good luck at Home Depot, s that was my first stop. As I got there and stated looking around I saw so many things that I needed to buy. I needed some more plants in the back and I definitely need to change out the pansies in the front for some summer plants. Memories flooded back about the numerous times Julia and I went looking together for just the right annual to give the right color to the yard. I looked at some that I thought would work, about I couldn’t decide. I also wanted a couple of Boston Ferns, but the ones at Hme Depot were either too dead or too expensive. The vegetables at Home Depot were just as bad so I didn’t get any. I left empty handed.
I then went to Lowes. I figured they would be at least as good as home depot. Their tomatoes and peppers were worse than Home Depot. The other plants looked good, and I almost bought some, but I couldn’t bring myself to make a decision. I kept thinking about what Julia would want here or there and I couldn’t come to any decision. I did over hear someone say that Wal Mart had a good selection of tomatoes and cheaper too. I decided to leave and try Pikes Nursery and finally go to Wal Mart. Pikes was terrible. They didn’t have as much as Home Depot or Lowes. Walking into that store gave me the impression that they were about to go out of business. It was very bare considering what it was like the last time I was in there. I usually like Pikes, but I can see that they will have a hard time making it in this economy when they have to compete with Wal Mart, Home Depot, and Lowes; all within 3 miles of each other. As I was walking around Pikes I realized that a pattern of thinking had set in and had to be broken.
All of the time in each of the stores I was constantly thinking of the past. Of when Julia and I were in the same stores doing the same things. Thinking that over and over had been to get me into a depressed state. It wasn’t about buying plants any more, it was about feeling sorry for myself. Once again I had a choice. I could continue to keep the same thought pattern; reliving old memories or I could shake these thoughts off and press into the needs of today. I needed to find the plants if anything were to get done this weekend, I chose to stop thinking about the past and trying to relive old times with Julia. Instead I focused on Papa and his goodness. I praised Him and asked Holy Spirit to help me find what I needed.
When I pulled into the Wal Mart parking lot, (after stopping at Starbucks for and iced coffee), things were totally different. I felt lighter and more focused. Wal Mart had everything I was looking for today. I got the tomato plants, pepper plants, the Boston ferns and even some Lantana for the back yard. It all looked very healthy and was less expensive than anywhere else. I don’t really think the plants were that much better than the other places, it’s just that I was seeing them through different lenses. That made all the difference. I got home and was going to plant them when a thunderstorm came up, so I took a nap instead. I’ll plant them tomorrow, weather permitting.
So what did I learn today? I learn something every day if I seek it out. Well, I realized that I have to continually check out what lenses I am looking at life through. If I allow myself to look at things for too long as they used to be, I will never find what I am looking for. Everything will be colored with memories from the past. This is so easy to do, because the memories were good memories that I really don’t want to forget. But I can’t let them color the present because they will stifle life. No, I have to focus on today and what Papa has for me right now. I can occasionally glance at the memories but I have to focus on now. This is very important for all of us. If we find ourselves focusing on what was or what might have been we will miss what God has for us now. So don’t be afraid to check yourself, especially when you hav had loss. Where is your focus? This is and ongoing process, sometimes minute by minute.
I’m glad I got the plants and I look forward to the fresh tomatoes and hot jalapenos. The homemade salsa should be real good!