Some days the weight of the world presses into spaces that leave me breathless and numb, untethered from what holds us all together. The division, the distress, the wars displacing the most vulnerable, the marginalization of those who have already suffered so much among us, the unbelief of those hearing stories of the abused, the seeming triumph of the oppressor, it all tightens the vise around my very existence. I struggle to stay rooted in what I know in my head but don’t yet know in my heart, that the good and beautiful in this world outshines the darkness creeping along the edges. I struggle to believe in the depths of my being that grace and love really do make a difference, that they bring light and life.
Those are the days I simply need to step away and spend some time in my backyard, freeing my flowers from the jungle of weeds and poison ivy threatening to squeeze the life out of them. Some days the best way to be grounded is to dig in the dirt, allowing the basic common denominator among us all to sift through my fingers and to repair the holes in my soul. It brings me back to my humanity and the humanity of my neighbor, be they near or far. I’m reminded that we all are dust, and the whiff of a breath on a hand can send us floating on the breeze. I’m reminded that I’m as fickle as they come, blown about and trying to figure it out as I go. I am reminded that I often don’t know where I’ll land, much like my neighbor may not know where they will land. I’m reminded that grace and love do go a long way in this world short on both.
At ground level the muted greens and browns sooth my eyes and my heart with their earthiness and the reality of what is. When I glance up, the world explodes in yellow, blue, white, pink. Lilies poised against the sky become stars set in space and I’m reminded of the smallness of me in a universe ever expanding. The pink of sweet peas vining into an evergreen, sending delicate sprays heavenward remind me that beauty leaves its mark on the world no matter where it’s found. Airy Queen Anne’s Lace, appearing uninvited yet waving cheerfully in the breeze reminds me that welcoming the stranger brings joy I didn’t know I was missing.
These days, I find myself in my garden more than usual, maybe in an attempt at bringing some order to my little corner of the world. Honestly, that’s about all I can handle right now, although it doesn’t seem like enough. I know it starts here, in my own tiny space. I just don’t know yet where it will lead. Or where I’ll land. But for now, it is enough. I will free my garden to be what it is meant to be – a space of beauty in a harsh world that is determined to conquer it. Today the grace of a garden will heal my soul a bit more and give me courage to look up once again.