My garden

By Mary Ann Hughes

Grace Notes

I’m happy to note that we are ages away from the grey, harsh days of January, and that my flower gardens are in full bloom right now.

Coral bells. Lamb’s ear. Iris. Cat mint. They are all showing off, and there is a lushness to the gardens right now.

I’ve been gardening since I was five years old. The minute my dad arrived home from work, we would head outside to inspect his vegetable garden.

That summer, he placed daisy flowers into my little hands, and he encourage me to scatter their seeds. Within a year or two, I enjoyed the wonder of new plants.

Many years later, after many gardening mishaps, my specialty has become plants that are easy to grow right here in southern Indiana. Nothing exotic. Just the basics.

I’ve also learned how to successfully divide plants. I have no fear of putting a spade right down the middle of a healthy plant and splitting it into three or four new, smaller plants.

It’s wonderful to look out my window and remember the people who shared their plants with me years ago. Some of those dear friends are, sadly, gone; but their memories are flourishing in my gardens.

And then, there are the weeds.

My weeds are healthy and tall. If 4-H competitions included weeds as a category, I would win a blue ribbon or two at the Indiana State Fair!

I’ve come to realize that my life is very much like my garden.

Sometimes in early spring, all I can see are the weeds. It can be overwhelming at times. Sometimes in my life, that happens too. I get overwhelmed by my memories of difficult people.

Usually by June, I’ve been able to eradicate most of the unsightly weeds from my garden. Perhaps, that’s what I have done in my life. The memories of those difficult people are also fading.

This has become the time in my life when I can sit back and savor the wonderful friendships that I have nourished over the years. In the same way, I can sit in a chair on my patio and enjoy the beauty of the garden.

I’ll never forget the astonishment I felt when I heard the words from “Footprints” for the first time. The author recounts walking along a sandy beach with Jesus. As he looks back at the most difficult moments in his life, he only sees one set of footprints.

He questions why he had to be alone.

The Lord replied, “It was then that I carried you.”

Isn’t that wonderful?! Isn’t that comforting?!

And I believe it.

I know for certain now that, in the garden of my life, which has been filled with mostly good and some bad, Jesus has been in its center. He has been my constant Companion.