Clare County Review & Marion Press Columns

May I Walk with You? Gardens

I can’t remember a time when I did not have a garden of some kind. The early part of my life in northern Gratiot County was accentuated by gardens. Not only were there the gardens where we planted, weeded, and harvested vegetables, there were flower beds that brought visual and olfactory beauty to our lives. Since Mom was the one who organized the garden and was most present for planting, weeding, harvesting, and preserving the produce, she is the one person in my past who I most associate with gardening. What I wouldn’t give to be able to live another day with Mom, my twin sister, and brothers in the hot afternoon sun while toiling and cool evening shade as we rested together! Today, I associate gardening with both my wife and twin sister who seem never to be happier than when they are bent over with their hands in the dirt and their butts up in the air.
I find it interesting to note that the Bible is full of gardening stories. It seems bookended with the Garden of Eden and the Garden of Gethsemane. Then there are the stories Jesus told of planting seeds, laborers in vineyards, letting weeds and wheat grow together, with the generosity of paying everyone the same wage, even though some had only worked a short time. There are farm sayings: “You reap what you sow.” “If you see a weed, pull it.” “All signs fail in a dry time.” And I am sure you can think of many more.
One story of gardening that I cherish is that told by my mother to my Aunt Sally the night before she died. My mother said that she had been to heaven and not to worry about where she was going. “There are lots of beautiful flowers there.” I didn’t understand the significance until I was told by someone that she had lost two children to miscarriage. I immediately remembered my mother saying that she had lost two children the same way and was given the fetuses, that she buried in a flower bed. No wonder she had us children take special care of that particular spot. When told that story, I knew that my mother, who died when I was twelve was in heaven, caring for the two children she had lost! She is happy!
Winter is over. Planting time is once again upon us. There will be weeding and watering. And in the fall there will be harvesting. Scripture tells us, that at the end of earthly life, there is heaven and hell. It also tells us that if we repent, give our lives to Jesus and live by his law and love that we will spend eternity with him in heaven. Those who fail to do so will reap an eternity in hell, another way of saying without love, in isolation. I hope there are gardens in heaven. It seems that is where I am most at home, with my loved ones in a garden.
“May the Lord bless and keep you. May he let his face shine upon you, be gracious to you and give you his peace.”

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