Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Constant Gardener

My husband likes to say, "track-record, track-record," when referring to the true nature of people. Many times I protest that he is being overly cynical, but I have to concede that often times he is correct. My track record is that I am a "serial starter," but not always a faithful “finisher." This probably causes me the most angst when I'm trying to find my way, whether that is figuring out how to parent, or how to realize my intentions and goals. I often feel frustrated that the bloom of enthusiasm can so easily wither on the vine. The metaphor is apt, because without care and tending, what started out with so much potential can be allowed to degrade and ultimately die out. As a mother, that keeps me awake at night, fretting over every misstep and implication of my bumbling through the daily challenges of raising my children. But surprisingly it isn't a given, and this gives me great hope.

We are blessed with a large and beautiful backyard. Our house needs a lot of TLC, but we bought the place because we could see our kids in this backyard. While we have sacrificed and scrimped a lot to be here, and to live our lives according to our values, one of the luxuries we allow ourselves for now is a gardening service. The gardener, and his father before him, has taken care of this yard since the original owner, and each occupant has kept him on. I have a little plot within our larger backyard where we like to plant flowers and herbs. The gardener largely leaves this area to our whims. Once, as a gift to me, my husband made a detailed plan and planted several carefully selected varieties. We tended it well for a good deal of time, but nevertheless over time, our attention drifted, and some things flourished while others did not survive. We blamed this on our lack of a carefully disciplined approach to tending the area. If we had tried harder, and held ourselves more accountable, things would have turned out better we scolded ourselves.

Once, someone gave me a mini rose bush, and we planted it there. We had planted at least one other before, that died, but we put another out there nevertheless. We didn't really over think it, just planted it and let it grow. This weekend, out on the porch, while enjoying the first of the beautiful spring weekends to come with my children, I noticed, really noticed, that the rose bush had grown and thrived. My husband told me that the gardener often goes and tends the bush, even when we are not being as attentive as we should. It seems he simply cannot help himself.

It gives me hope that even when we get lost and inattentive, there is a constant gardener looking out for our little rose bushes.

The photo is mine. Please ask permission for reproduction.

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