Seven weeks ago I began a journey of gardening.
My strongest memories of my grandparents are from my childhood and early teenage years, of summers spent at their home in the country. They lived in the most magical of houses – it was an earth sheltered home, and one of our favourite pastimes was playing around on the roof (which was covered in grass). They were also avid lovers of the outdoors – Grandma had the most luscious of garden beds, and Grandpa often encouraged us to explore the woodlands around their property, to fly kites in the fields, and to generally enjoy being outside. I remember sitting on the garden swing, hearing wind chimes in the distance; or running around the garden “helping” weed or pick its produce.
These memories are ones I will always treasure – and it was the loss of my grandfather that sparked this desire to bring those memories to life. Thus began the attempts at gardening – particularly spurred on by the gift of a plant from a friend – because one should remember a life with a life.
Over the past seven weeks, I have already learned a number of lessons from this gardening adventure, and I am sure many more will follow.
Eager as I was to garden, perhaps the most timely lesson was that of the importance of time. I enthusiastically repotted the plant, planted some seeds, and planted some seedlings. I watered them, I ensured they had the best possible positioning for sun, I fussed over them.
The next morning, the same thing – I ensured they were well watered, well positioned – I spoke to them encouraging growth. This continued for a number of days – in fact, over a week, before I saw any hint of change. Impatience kicked in, but surprisingly for once, persistence also remained. It was with great delight one morning that I discovered a couple of flower blooms on my seedlings.
And a few weeks later, little sprouts of green from the strawberry seeds began to emerge!
Seven weeks on, my flowers are flourishing, and my strawberries are many small seedlings.
Through this, I have learned that you cannot rush the process of time. I could fuss over the plants all I wanted, but if anything, it would only delay or prevent their growth. I could get impatient and give up altogether, and again, they would not survive. Instead, it was the day in, day out, consistency of care – and the willingness to let it take its time that has allowed them to grow.
I think healing is the same kind of process. We can have a crisis, a loss, an injury or setback, and our reactions often tend to be to either ignore, or to go into total problem solving (aka control the situation) mode. Unfortunately, neither of these is ultimately effective. Problem solving generally is the better end to lean towards, as there is an element (usually) where we have to be involved in our growth and healing, however these things cannot be rushed.
Perhaps what I have learned the most from my garden is to appreciate the slow steady work of time. To stop long enough to observe and see even the tiniest of changes, and to celebrate them. Rather than constantly wishing they (or I) were at the end result, to enjoy the process, to soak in the journey. To take pride in the part that I have to play, and to stand in awe at the part that is well beyond me – the part that only the Creator can ordain – the role of time.
Seven weeks in, the journey has only just begun.