by Margaret McCray, LMFT
612.332.7743 ext. 222
Spring arrived early this year and stayed around to bestow upon us a rare visitation of luscious warmth and rain-not at all a typical Minnesota spring. Our winter weary senses were flooded, and I for one felt overwhelmed with astonishment and gratitude for the abundance of color and texture that took over my humble garden.
Gardening beckons me to a delightful mix of whimsy, hard work, and play. As in decorating a home, a garden offers the satisfaction of engaging in artistic design and creativity. I decide where to dig, what to plant. I choose the colors and types and even the heights of flowers, vegetables, shrubs and trees. I set the limits (or try to) on the money and time I spend.
Yet, a garden is alive, unlike the chairs and rugs that decorate a room. A garden is a superb teacher of the laws of reality, the first of which is "You Are Not In Control." Wind, rain, drought, sun, hail, frost, bugs, fungus, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks (not cute!) and neighborhood children (very cute!), are only a few of the factors that can have a major impact on the outcome of the short Minnesota season of my garden.
The pleasure of a garden is always the pleasure of the moment. If I have a long-term plan it is sure to be thwarted, so I have come to love the serendipity of it all. I garden because I love the rush of energy it calls out in me, especially early in the morning; the fragrance the ground gives off in the rain; the changing beauty of a rose as it unfolds; the mix of colors that surprise me every year; even the satisfaction of pulling weeds, one at a time.
What is true in gardening is true in all things living and real. We are not in charge of the outcome. We have only the decisions of the present moment as life unfolds around us. The attention we give the moment, no matter its content, determines the inner peace and ultimate meaning of the life God has given us. This is the only outcome over which we have control.
God does not abandon us to this uncertainty. God leads us and accompanies us on our moment to moment journey. Because we are not alone, we have the courage to face the possibilities we could not have imagined for ourselves: momentary outcomes that enrich our lives and move us toward the final mysteries of our life with God. Thanks be to God for the gardens we are given to tend.