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During my first summer at camp, I had a counselor who liked to used the phrase, "Life's a garden. Can ya dig it?" Twelve years later and I still think about those words and how much I love what they mean. Life is a garden. And a good garden takes a lot of hard work. You have to do the groundwork, preparing the soil for planting. You have to protect it from weeds growing wild, you have to prune back plants to give them new (and healthier) life, you have to water it, and you have to wait. Wait until the goodness you planted will begin to take root and to grow. But first, you have to put in the work.

Our lives are a lot like this. Whether it's getting in shape, learning a new skill, or making a new friend, the same principals apply. This summer I've mostly been thinking about how it applies to our relationships with others. Beginning new friendships and nurturing those growing relationships (or sustaining the friendships you already have) is not always easy. You have to put in a lot of effort, you have to put in a lot of time, and you may find it takes a while before you finally get to a place that feels safe and life-giving.

Friendship is full of joy and fun but also a lot of good lessons. Sometimes friendship means learning to be less selfish, learning to listen well, learning to practice patience, learning to compromise and meet in the middle, and sometimes it means driving to a garden center just because your best friend wants to look at succulents. :)

Let's keep digging and planting and watering, friends. I promise the time it takes is worth it.