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When I first saw the word THRIVE used as a tagline by our health care provider, I thought it was gimmicky. But after reading it repeatedly on their posters, flyers, pamphlets, billboards, and website, the message is beginning to penetrate. It says to me that there’s so much more to living than not being ill or injured; we should expect to experience all of life with a sense of excitement, anticipation, and happiness.

Watching plants thrive is one of the joys of gardening.  It’s not enough just to have a space without weeds, debris, or rotting vegetation. Much of my pleasure comes from seeing luxuriant, healthy growth, abundant blossoms and succulent fruit.

In my forty-year gardening career I have seen many plants thrive, and others languish. I didn’t have space or time for a large garden when we lived in Sydney, Australia,  but the basil I planted flourished and grew waist-high, while the tomatoes were sickly and stunted. Plenty of pesto, not much marinara! The basic elements of soil, water and fertilizer may have been similar, but the end product was significantly different.

There are areas of my life in this season that are thriving; other parts seem a little wilted, the leaves slightly yellowed, the fruit a bit sparse. If I want to fully experience what Jesus said he came to bring–an abundant life, rich and satisfying–then I’m going to have to go back to the basics. Am I getting enough water, nourishment, sunshine? Have I allowed other things to crowd my growth? Do I have adequate protection from the elements?

I’m so grateful that the Master Gardener has given us a manual for life. I’ll be searching for the answers.