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Doug Creamer: Gardening

By Doug Creamer
For the Salisbury Post

My wife and I have been doing a good job about social distancing and staying at home since the arrival of COVID-19. The only trips out involve getting food or going to the drug store. It’s been very hard not to visit with family and friends, especially for me, since I am such a social person. We know this will not last forever, even though it feels like it at times.

I know the hardware stores are open, but I have avoided them because they seem so busy. It’s spring and the garden centers at the hardware stores are full of beautiful plants. Most Friday nights in spring after we eat out, we normally end up walking around the garden center at Lowe’s. Well, we used to do that.

This is our favorite time of the year. We love spending time roaming around garden centers and enjoying all the beautiful plants. They are an essential business, so we decided to go to our local garden centers and get some flowers and vegetables.

I thought it would be better to go during the week when it would be quiet and less crowded. We were so excited for our adventure out into the world. It was a beautiful day and apparently other people also decided it would be a great day to visit the garden centers. The two we visited were busy. The good thing we both noticed is that people were practicing good social distancing. We were all looking for plants but being mindful of each other.

It was a good day. We came home with some treasures and are working at getting everything planted. It feels so good to get my hands in the soil. I enjoy working in both the vegetable and flower gardens because it brings us great joy. Seeds are popping through the soil, flowers are blooming, plants are growing and flourishing and we are filled with joy. Another thing that brings great joy to our lives is growing spiritually. Like flower and vegetable gardens, our spirits need to be tended and nourished.

Over the years I have written numerous times about the need to spend time in God’s word and prayer. The spirit feeds on God’s word. It’s the source of wisdom, guidance, and knowledge about God. When we pray, we are in the presence of God. A person cannot be in the presence of God without being changed. These two are the basis of spiritual growth in our lives.

One thing I have neglected to point out through the years is how vital fellowship is to our spiritual growth. Here we are in a time of social distancing and we find ourselves missing a critical component to spiritual growth. How can we connect when we aren’t allowed to gather? How can we encourage and challenge each other to deeper spiritual growth? We have to be creative because it is critical.

I have been fortunate in my life. I have several very good friends. A real friend is someone who knows you, really knows you, maybe even better than you know yourself, and they still love you. They know your sin, shame, bad attitudes, wrong motives, failures, and your weaknesses, and yet they stand with you and never make you feel bad about yourself. In fact, they help you to see God in you. They help you to focus on the good in your life. They believe the best about you. They see you as an overcomer, a victorious warrior. The relationship is mutual. You are a faithful friend because you do the same thing for them. You see, hope, and believe the best for them, too.

A friend will pick you up and love you when you are at your worst. They will also give you a swift kick in the rear if that is what you need. A friend laughs and cries with you. A friend will fight through the darkness to find you and help you see the light. A friend is there to lift you up, encourage and challenge you, and to see you through.

I want to encourage you to evaluate your friendships. Discover and treasure your true friends. Invest in those relationships because those are the ones that will benefit you in your walk with Christ. We have all been burned, but we can’t allow that to keep us from reaching out again because we need trusted friends to make it through life. Friends help us see through the fog and keep us on the right path. I believe friendship is God’s plan for strong spiritual growth.

Contact Doug Creamer at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041or doug@dougcreamer.com

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