Last week, as the weather warmed, I had such a yen to fill up all the barren flowerbed spots with bunches of plants – plants that could not survive a sudden plunge in temperatures. (And it has turned chilly in recent days!) I longed to see blooming red geraniums – reminders and portenders of good summer times. And I wanted to see roses everywhere there’s a gap in the garden!
But, sobered by a warning about knock-out roses’ susceptibility to “diseases” and remembering that rain is not a given here in July, August and September, I rethought my daydreams to recreate an east-coast style “spring” garden. (As if that’s what my “gardens” ever looked like when I lived there!)
Moreover, that winter ice storm gave me an extra patch of dirt to beautify -- the spot from whence our ice-laden old cedar departed. This spot enjoys the afternoon sun, unfiltered, and little water.
It’s tempting to quickly fill it up with favorites but even geraniums bred for Texas heat, and knockout roses would be poor choices. What I need are plants that can withstand heat and drought -- but most of them aren’t my first choice.
Musing on what to plant and where leads me again to think about my own opportunities to keep on flourishing in the “golden years.” Bloom where you are planted is an exasperating adage.
Coming closer to seventy than I care to admit, I have gained understanding, insight, and so much practical experience – so much good advice to give! But just when it seems the perfect time to plant some of these precious “seeds,” I hear wise women in my past say, “Keep your opinions to yourself – and be useful instead of an expert.” Then, I remember: I can’t force desires or daydreams to become realities, anymore than I can force Maryland –friendly plants to take root in Texas.
A good gardening goal, literally and spiritually, is to do things differently instead of only talking about it. I am still itching to fill in around the house with vibrant, long lasting color – and Paul reminds me, there’s still work to do in this “autumn” garden of mine:
· Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good.
· Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.
· Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant.
· Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder.
· Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.
· Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up.
· Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.
· Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody.
· Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”
· Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness.
· Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good. Romans 12:9-21 (The Message)
|Reminders and Portenders|