Saturday, April 14, 2007
That was nearly a week ago. Today, my husband and I took our dog for a walk in the park. It is finally nice enough to spend some time outside after the fits and starts of spring that we have had so far this year. One minute it’s 60 degrees. The next it’s snowing. Then it’s 80 degrees. Then it’s raining. Or is that snow? Maybe it’s sleet? Oh wait, no, it’s a blizzard.
But at this very moment, as I sit at my kitchen table with my puppy snoozing at my feet (Walks are like puppy sleeping pills!), and the windows thrown wide open to welcome the fresh spring air, it is 54 degrees and sunny outside – a perfect spring day – and Weather.com tells me that it’s going to stay right around 60 for the next ten days. It looks like spring has finally won the battle against winter.
Unfortunately, while the thermometer’s mercurial fluctuations have been, for the most part, just annoying, northern gardens have suffered a few casualties. I noticed the effects of this while returning to the house from our walk this afternoon. Some of the plants in our yard have started sending up strong, sturdy green shoots, but others’ leaves are now yellow and wilting.
About a month ago when spring first attempted to exert itself, the earth warmed, and the dormant things beneath began to awake. They shot out green sprouts, some of them cautiously peeping through the soil, others more vigorously reaching toward the warmth of the sun. Those that were more enthusiastic were beaten down when the cold and snow returned and are now lying wilted on the ground. It is yet to be seen whether sun and rain will be able to resurrect them.
On the other hand, those that were more cautious survived the snow and are now green and healthy, ready to grow and thrive. And then there are the tulips, which are able to survive just about anything. They brazenly thrust their pointy leaves through the nearly frozen ground, survived the ice and snow, and currently sport the greenest leaves in the garden.
As I was wondering whether or not the sun would be capable of revitalizing my prematurely emerging lilies, I realized that my garden is a lot like myself.
I would like everything to be green and growing in my garden; I would like all aspects of my life to be flourishing as well.
I do not have control over the weather that affects my garden; I do not have control over the circumstances that affect my life.
There are plants in my garden that are strong and growing more beautiful every day; there are aspects of my life that are very strong, in which I am growing stronger every day.
There are plants in my garden that are dying or even dead and there is little I can do but pamper them in the hope that there is some small bit of life left in them which will be coaxed out by the sun; there are areas in my life which have not turned out as I wish, but with God’s blessing on them, I can hope for them to become something beautiful in time.
There are plants that are beyond hope and I can do nothing but pull them out of the ground and replace them with something new; there are parts of my life which I have had to give up, replacing my worry and regret for what I’ve lost with hope and ambition for what is to come.
And through all this – the good and the bad – my garden grows. If I treat it right, it will flourish. Every plant that lives or dies serves a purpose, even if it’s just to sweeten the compost pile which will in turn nourish the rest of the garden. It may take some time, but in the long run, I can always look back and see how the disheartenments eventually led to beauty.
Beauty for ashes, the Bible says, and it is so true. The longer I live, the more I learn that He really does make all things beautiful in his time – even in my garden – even in me.