Many a time I sought respite from a harried mind in the garden. It is no surprise that that is where I sometimes hear God, and sometimes learn something important from His Creation.
A long time ago, in another garden than the one I now have, I experimented with many types of plants in the newness of learning the art of gardening. One season I had bought some anemone coronaria bulbs. These are the type that are not hardy in my climate, and I had somehow misplaced them over the summer and didn’t run across them until the next planting season.
Anemones corms ( the proper name) always look pretty wizened and unpromising to begin with, but after a season out of ground and somewhere in my heated house, these looked particularly bad. They looked dead… and beyond hope, but being the conservator that I am I hated to just throw them in the trash ……
Instead, I threw them into a dark corner of a place I had dug up beside the house. I don’t know why, because I really didn’t expect anything…. I probably felt they ought to rot into the earth they came from. I ‘ve always been big on the composting concept. I pretty much forgot about them.
Of course, I wouldn’t be telling the story if they hadn’t come up – which they did- but the teaching I learned was that when there is life in something…. even when we may not see that life and it by all rights ought to have clean dried away…. that life will, given the circumstances it needs, spring forth.
Hope is much the same way. Never go by the outward circumstances, or what you may reasonably believe on the face of things when life or hope are concerned. You cannot tell when something may come of or not.
Sow in hope, it will often surprise you.
The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.
something else the garden taught me…
In that same garden, I worked very hard to coddle some special plants. Those were very lean years financially and I had to sacrifice to purchase some of the little plants I wanted. It was a small city garden, and I could afford the effort and time to nurture things along.
I had a friend from church who used to help me do housework in exchange for me giving her child daycare while she worked as a nurse. During this time, she had the sad experience of having her marriage break up. She really struggled since she had been brought up in the church and this was not the expected end of her hopes and dreams.
As she struggled, we would discuss some of these things and she would express the real confusion as to why God would allow sin and evil to have entered our existance through Adam. I don’t remember how it came up, but there was the question of why God would continue with someone who was sinning as her husband was… made worse by the fact that he was a pastor.
During that time as I looked out on my garden, I realized that like a gardener, God has put a great deal of time, love, and hope into us, his plantings. He is loathe to give up on the promising plantings of our lives, even when disease and problems threaten to destroy it all.
He gives time for healing, He brings out the pruners and the fertilizers, all the while working in the hope that the planting will recover and make good on the potential within it.
It is always worth a try, soemtimes even a broken reed will renew the cell structures and grow again. We are a much greater investment than any plant, as humans made in God’s image we are of great worth and capable of great beauty and force for good.
If we took half a care for each other as we often are able for something within the Creation, a plant, a pet, a garden, we could allow God to grow through us something very wondrous, I believe.
Which brings me on to the pine story, but that is for another day.