I’m not a huge gardener and usually struggle to keep my house plants alive but this year, I decided to try gardening one more time. Since I planted strawberries in my garden a few years ago, the bunnies and chipmunks have beaten me to their luscious deliciousness. So I opted for less challenging plants and flowers that need little coaxing from me, than fruits and vegetables for my front garden. It went better but it’s no English estate garden.
This year I invested in deck rail planters and have grown successfully; peppermint, spearmint, jalapeños, lettuce, baby tomatoes, basil, rosemary, and oregano. I’m total amazed and pamper them relentlessly, ask my sons, who have been required to water and tend to them when I am away. The biggest surprise is that we actually eat everything we’ve planted and to have teenage boys eat anything green is nothing short of a miracle. I’m grateful everyday that we get to harvest and share our own bounty. At least they put down their phones, don’t get me started, and we chill out on the deck and talk and eat. That’s worth the price of soil.
It turns out that rebirth and regeneration of my garden has helped move me towards a place of gratitude and peace. This summer has been one of the most joyous summers of my life. To be surrounded by nature, my plants, my puppy, my friends, and my beloved family…well there’s just nothing better than that. Getting to spend quality time with the people I cherish most, that’s the best gift of all. Peace!
“Surrender to grace.
The ocean cares for each wave until it
reaches the shore.
You are given more help than you will
Life continues to amaze, delight, and confound me. Unraveling my spirit from the grips of grief, I have emerged altered, and changed. I am different. Grief morphed me into someone new, forged and carved me with the sharp edges of desolation and despair. It reshaped and restructured my molecules and a new me emerged, scarred but gloriously alive and entirely present.
While I am not entirely sure who the new me is, I have begun to whittle it down to who I am no longer. I’m no longer interested in sadness, unnecessary drama, betrayal, and pain…goodbye. I’m no longer interested in wasted words or deeds. I’m no longer interested in making myself uncomfortable simply for the sake of getting along. I’m no longer interested in someone else’s idea of me. I’m over conforming, and contorting, and confining myself to a version of myself that no longer exists. The old tools simply don’t fit the new doors I have to unlock or the unchartered roads I must travel. I’m going to need a whole new set of tools.
So much of my life is exactly how I imagined it, but it too is changing. As I watch my two teenage sons begin independently navigating the world with a combination of uncertainty, exhilaration, and excitement as they prepare for their own life transitions, it provides a roadmap of the tools I will need on my own journey. Their resilience and optimism continues to motivate me to take new chances as they cheer me on to new heights. When I look at the young men they are becoming, I am grateful that my husband and I have been blessed with these two extraordinary and enlightened souls. They are constantly reminding me that new challenges require new solutions, sometimes daring and bold, (whoever told them that?). While they pack up their own toolkits and set off in search of their adventures. I am doing the same. I take comfort from knowing that no matter where we all go, we are each other’s North Star. That might be the greatest tool I possess and thankfully one that will never need to be replaced in my toolbox.
I’m looking ahead at where I want to be and I am gathering the necessary tools to serve me on my quest for new vistas. It’s been a long and hard climb from the valley of mourning but I can see the dappled rays of sunlight peaking through and I’m heading that way. I am certain of one thing; the terrain may be different but so now, thankfully, so am I.
I hadn’t realized I had been in search of my smile. Not the smile I show to the world, my smile. The one that tells me I’m happy and joyful. Finding my smile again has been a long and gradual process. Without thinking, I find myself observing small things that are right in front of me; the vivid orange-colored tulips I bought to brighten my space, the howling of the wind in the trees, the flickering shadows of the trees that sway and dance around the walls of my bedroom at night, comforting and inviting me to see the magic I had thus far too grief-stricken to see. I was doing laundry and humming and although I was rusty, melody and music moved through my soul imploring me to put on music and dance. So I did. Happiness snuck through the window while I was waving goodbye to grief as it left through the back door.
Now I am sitting at my desk, and I am reminded that grief is a season, a long, painful, terrifying, dark, and foreboding season. Beauty, art, music, laughter, pleasure, and joy fade into the inky darkness of silence. Thank God, in time the sadness, horror and sorrow cease its daily onslaught on my broken spirit and the steady beat of my heart is the metronome steadily guiding me through the desolate, murky, and perilous forest. Loss has changed me, scarred, rebuilt, and transformed me. I no longer resent or resist the unrelenting pain that dogged me like a second skin. I finally turned around and faced it and although I haven’t entirely learned all the lessons yet, I find beauty in the depth and breadth of redemption, grace and in the inevitable rebirth of new seasons and new beginnings. I can look back now and see that I have traveled a long way through dusty, uneven, unforseen terrain that buckled my knees, broke my heart, and seared my soul, but I still made it back to the light and home to the people I love most in the world.