I have heard people say that many of the parables in the Bible are lost on today’s society because we are so separated from the food production process. They say that most people do not understand the parables because they have never grown anything. But I think it’s worse than just that. I believe there is much wisdom that our society never has access to because we don’t understand how life works.
Unfortunately, we are so arrogant that we think we do know how life works. And that’s why I’m calling gardening the “inverted metaphor.” We think that the wisdom we have access to in our time is real life and that things like parables are the metaphors. But from my perspective, it’s actually the other way around. Our wisdom is not based on truth and because the reality of living, growing, reproducing life is so constant, our modern understanding of wisdom is nothing but a metaphor to that reality. And often a false metaphor at that.
Ten years ago I was a volunteer at Armond Bayou Nature Center. I did several jobs while I was there, most of them were in the area of education. I lead tours and helped out with the classes (Ruby said I was a natural handling the animals). I remember several times, taking bus loads of students through the farm area of the center and showing them the garden. It was surprising just how little our children today know where their food comes from.
Not only were the children not able to recognize everyday produce, but they were also grossed out by the mere idea that they could eat something that came from the dirt. Bus load after bus load of these students could not tell you that carrots, potatoes and peanuts come from under the ground. They don’t know that beans and peas grow in pods. They don’t know that corn grows in stalks like grass. The man who ran the garden back then made a comment once about how less than ten percent of the children who come through the farm area know even the slightest thing about where the food they eat comes from.
That was ten years ago. Today, most of those children are either college students or in the work force already. They are now involved in our lives, with responsibilities that either directly or indirectly effect all of us. And they know nothing of real life!
Cut Off From the Wisdom
I am not suggesting that those students are alone in their ignorance. Not at all. This malady effects all civilized people. The strength of civilized society is that work is divided in a way that each job is done by someone who is skilled at that job. In less civilized societies, the people have to do everything themselves. But in civilization, we have a division of labor that is 1,000 times more efficient than if we all had to do every job ourselves to survive.
So yes, we are all ignorant of real life to some degreebecause we live in a civilized society. This means that, if we are to ever grasp the wisdom that comes with the knowledge and understanding of how real lifeworks, then we have to actively pursue that knowledge and understanding.
It’s Called “Gardening”
Gardening is real lifein action. Growing a garden is how modern day, civilized people tap into the wisdom that we are otherwise cut off from. The plants we grow in our gardens are genuine living organisms. Because I know that the plants are real, that the life they live is real, how can I see them as metaphors to the problems we face on a daily basis? Most of those problems are not real. Well, not real in t he sense that a living, growing plant is real.
The way things work in our social lives, in our business lives, in our personal lives, these things work LIKE real life does. Not the other way around. If you want to tap into the wisdom that will make your business life better, grow a garden! If you want the wisdom that leads to a happier marriage, grow a garden! Last but not least, if you want to understand the wisdom Jesus was communicating through His parables, grow a garden! Learn how real life works by spending time learning how to grow a garden, and it will enhance every aspect of the way you live.