Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Arc of Plants and People

On a quiet, reflective hike at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, I found myself considering the way some plants bend in an arc toward something--water, or the sun, or each other--and found myself wondering, why do they do that? I’ve been interested in the plants popping up around my house--the delight in finding I have gardenias growing by my front porch, and a bountiful hydrangea bush in our backyard. I am clueless about gardening (I’ve killed a few house plants), but I want to get to know what being a true gardener means. What tools do I need, and what do I need to know about plants of different types and with different needs? How does a good gardener know when her seedlings are growing as they should? Or when they need a little nudge?

Motherhood hasn’t been dissimilar, and Isabella seems to be growing fairly well. There have been plenty of times I wasn’t sure how to “water” her or what to do to make her grow right, and I am sure I am in for much, much more.

On the other hand, I still seem to be pruning myself.

In human terms, God could be the all-wise gardener who tends to us. As co-creators we become gardeners, too, with less knowledge and more intuition and perhaps some of the same questions: what tools do I need, and what do I need to know about people of different types and with different needs? We turn to the Master Gardener for answers, and find sometimes we have none.

Then again, we should probably cherish the way we MUST grow--what God built into us naturally. The diversity of this soul growth is staggering to me still, after years of attending Bible study groups, receiving spiritual direction, diving into all things spiritual though bookclubs, and meeting people from all walks of life. How have we found each other? Stunned as I am, I arc toward the source of all life, basking in it, growing and pruning and becoming someone anew.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wonder Years

There are days when I think back onto my teen angst years, and remember certain things I’d wonder about: (who) will I marry? Where will I live? What will I do with my life and talents? Will I matter? It’s funny, but I still think in terms of (some of) these questions, except now I see them in the light of my experiences over some twenty-odd years. That space and time has tempered my soul, made me see in the way I couldn’t back then, when I sat and brooded by my stereo, taping a WBRU (college station) alternative music mixed tape for my best friend. Ah, the 80s.

There have been many times along the way I faltered, then got back up again and kept trying, breaking new ground. The unknown elements--the moments when the next step seemed truly unsure--were the scariest, but I wouldn’t imagine those hesitant steps any other way now. I couldn’t have possibly dreamed up the life I have now back then: 2,000 miles, a broken engagement, Master’s degree, marriage and pregnancy away from my current self. There’s so much that happened in between, for that matter. What remains the same is my desire to remain true to myself, my faith, and the path for which I have long felt grateful.

Along this way I have found those wandering as I have (and still do), rejected by others or maybe themselves. To these fellow wanderers I say, walk with me a bit, and wonder with me at what could be.

We might surprise ourselves.