Like A Gardener and Her Tools

Posted by on November 1, 2009 in Musings | 0 comments

An online network to which I belong has recently been discussing how to define financial health. In thinking about how I’d define financial health, I considered that it’s a measure of our relationship with money, and I wondered what metaphor I’d use to describe my relationship with money.

It occurred to me that I’d like my relationship with money to be like that of a gardener and her tools.

I like this metaphor, because the tools are helpful, but they aren’t necessary. Actually, the gardener isn’t even necessary. There are beautiful natural fields, forest, and gardens all around the world that no human helped create. Seeds are spread by wind, animals, and water. The earth is watered by rain and snow. The sun rises and sets, even with no humans around. And the beauty is amazing.

Yet, still, I have the option to participate. To gather or purchase seeds or seedlings. To plant them, tend them, and watch them grow. Sometimes I use a spade, but in its absence I could get by with my hands. I supplement the rains with a sprinkler or watering can, but I could let them fend for themselves; let only the drought tolerant survive. I snip off dead flower heads, but I could leave the dried heads for the birds to dine on or to fall to the ground and become compost.

I like how a gardener’s tools compliment her work, but they aren’t necessary for it. They can make a project quicker or less of a chore, but they themselves aren’t a thing of beauty. They can accentuate and promote the wonder that’s inherently there and provide inspiration and enjoyment for others and myself, but they can’t make the seed sprout forth new growth. They can’t make a sunflower rise from an acorn. They can’t stop a maple from dropping its leaves in the fall. They can, however, help me to engage and celebrate the life that surrounds me. They let me co-create with the Creator.

How about you? What metaphor would you like to be descriptive of your relationship with money?

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