I ask only because after deadheading flowers, lifting pots, pulling weeds, and resetting garden path stones, my bones hurt, my muscles ache, ants have crept inside my pant leg and there’s a patch of poison ivy on my arm driving me crazy.
I ask because it’s hard to garden when the weather goes from hot to rainy to ninety degrees with humidity above eighty and more rain predicted (as though we haven’t had enough).
Yeah — why DO we garden?
Because not gardening isn’t an option. Because something pulls us to the dirt and to creating beauty.
Some call gardening “art.” I call it necessary to the human condition, food for the soul, salve for anxiety, ice cream with no calories.
It’s been a crazy summer, though. The plants don’t know quite what to do about the weather. The sedum thrives but I’ve noticed some rotting deep inside where the sun (when it shines) doesn’t reach. Same for the cone flowers and the calibrochia.
The black-eyed Susan plants do well, though, and would probably grow in cement. I can’t complain about the lantana, either.
The new hydrangea trees my good friend Joe and I planted in the spring adapted quickly and have produced magnificent blooms, and the impatiens could not be more beautiful.
Having said that, the tomatoes are rotting before they ripen.
The eggplant is just now showing signs of edible produce and forget picking a crop of bell peppers.
But the basil is beautiful and the small patch of thyme the birds planted for me looks ready to use.
So . . . why DO we garden?
Pleasure. Sheer, absolute, I don’t care if the bugs bite, I know I can’t kill all the Poison Ivy, the ratio of rain/ sun sucks, I hurt all over, Pleasure.
I feel that as I sit on the porch swing every morning it doesn’t rain.
Sipping my coffee, I watch butterflies flit, hummingbirds zoom, and bees burrow deep into morning glories and daylilies.
As early sun highlights the crepe myrtle, and the golden finches come to feed, I feel happy and grateful that I am a gardener, and I think that Robert Browning had it exactly right when he wrote the words, “God’s in His heaven, all’s right with the world.”
Is it popular now to end a conversation with “Prayers and love”?
I’ve noticed it happening a lot. Facebook has tons of people sending prayers for other people, or asking for prayers for themselves.
General conversation might well include the phrase, “praying for you (or the family, or a particular person.)”
I think it’s a wonderful thing. Others think it’s a superficial, trendy, empty phrase, like “See ya,” or “Have a good day.”
Thinking back to my Catholic upbringing, I believe prayer was part of my DNA in both its casual and formal way. I don’t remember whether my mother and father taught me and my eight brothers and sisters to think of God as accessible, but we did. I do remember that the nuns who taught us in school made sure we had the formal Catechetical knowledge about God’s place in our universe. Prayer seemed more private then. We prayed, but didn’t announce it.
So, where am I going with this?
Well, it seems a lot of us have learned some things about prayer.
First, it isn’t a dirty word. We feel pretty good about letting others know we care about them and saying so out loud or in writing.
Then, we feel secure enough in our beliefs to acknowledge there is A Supreme God who listens to us. (Or maybe we feel so insecure in a disintegrating world that we desperately need to believe in a God who listens and works miracles.)
You know what? It doesn’t matter. It only matters that we have faith; that we know there are things we can’t control and that there is a far greater Someone who can help if we ask.
Do I believe God answers every prayer?
Yes. I do. But I believe He answers in ways we don’t always understand, which is why we have to trust. It isn’t always easy.
I know absolutely that asking God to take care of others makes us better people. I know that asking God for counsel can open us to new ways of thinking.
I know that right now, when I say, whoever you are, whatever your need, I pray for you, it is meant to be a blessing.
I am a coward. Worse, I am a passive coward. Not only do I not speak out when injustice happens, but I let the injustice slide on by and drift into the “can’t do anything about it anyway” bin.
Not this time.
Another school shooting happened this week, not, what? little more than a week from the last one? This time it happened in a Maryland school. A kid shooting at kids. Yeah, it was only one kid who got killed. Yes, one other student got hit by gunfire. Good that the officer on duty stopped the shooter before others were hurt or killed. It was still traumatic, senseless, and left more grieving parents and families to wonder why, more school officials wondering how to make their school safe. (Not safer. SAFE.)
Ho Hum. Another day at the school lottery firing range.
When is it enough?
When do the adults in this country do what we’ve watched our young ones do? When do we start kicking and screaming and pointing fingers and demanding that something be done to stop this?
Someone said to me the other day, “Nobody in Washington will do anything to move a solution forward until one of their own is shot or killed.”
We’re waiting for the right kid(s) to become targets so somebody will do something?
And this is even more pathetic. When the young people started their movement, calling attention to their own need to feel safe, what did this coward do?
I sat on my comfortable sofa in my comfortable living room, drink beside me, and applauded these brave young lads and lassies. I applauded these male and female Davids going against the unmoving, unbending, locked into place Goliaths in Congress. And I cried. I cried because I’m not smart enough, wise enough, courageous enough, energetic enough, to join them. To yell, No More. And I prayed. I prayed for the dead, the wounded in spirit as well as body, and I asked God to let it end.
He told me this was our task. He said He would help if we asked for His help, but that we had pretty much forgotten about Him and He also reminded me that the mess we’re in is the mess we created.
I have no idea if making twenty-one the legal age to buy guns, or outlawing the sale of the super weapons and bump stocks to general public or doing extensive background checks or any of the other suggested possibilities will help. But it is a place to start. Doing nothing is just that. Nothing. And the way I see it, there are way too many people sitting in the hallowed halls of Congress doing that. And the ball really is in their court.
There have to be national standards regulating guns. Guns kill. Don’t feed me that stupidity about it’s people with guns who kill. That is a true statement. But if the people who would do harm to other people had a harder time getting the guns they would use to kill, there would be far less killing. Guns kill. They kill because they were made to do just that, whether for hunting bear or hunting students. They kill.
While I’m on the soapbox here, let me say the idea of arming classroom teachers is about the dumbest idea I’ve heard. I come from a family of teachers, and I can’t imagine any one of them ever becoming a pistol packin’ mama or papa. I realize it only takes one good shot to take down an aggressor, but I wonder how many semi-trained teachers could fire that one good shot?
Last thing: I’m not writing this to start an argument with anyone. I’m writing this because something has gone terribly wrong in our beautiful world and I want us to do something about it. I do believe prayer is a good place to start. God not only loves us, He listens, and if we ask for His help, He’ll give it, in ways I can’t begin to imagine. He’s God. He’ll figure it out.