“Did you hear about a rose that grew from a crack in the concrete?….Funny it seems, but by keeping it’s dreams, it learned to breathe fresh air.”–Tupac
I have about four or five container gardens/plants. My favorite sits in the front yard. I move it from the porch to the yard depending on the temperature and the sunlight. Inside is English Ivy, a teacup rose, hens and chicks, lavender, lemon sage, and marigolds which Trinity chose from a discount table at Leanne’s Fruit Market. The idea of a few container plants started in February with the rose my mom gave me for Valentine’s day. I half expected myself not to go through with it only because my track record with gardening isn’t much to speak of. This way of thinking is like a tangled weed, and I am trying to acknowledge it these days. Fear and shame keep me (and many other human beings) from trying things, like having plants, learning new things, making new friends. I am afraid that my mismanagement of time will cause me to neglect the plants, so I feel guilty for even trying, and then I beat myself up over it some so I will remember not to try it again. It’s a train wreck of a thought pattern, but it’s what I’ve done for nearly three decades so it’s roots are tangled up and it takes efforts to unwind it from it’s source. Fear…
When Trinity was about two we had some success with an in ground garden at our Mt. Pleasant house in Dalton. I chuckle a little because my brother and Tim beat their heads against the red clay to plow the piece of earth. We had broccoli, a few herbs cilantro and basil, cherry tomatoes, and sweet potatoes later in the fall. While we did not have many of these to great excess, save the herbs, our tiny garden did produce, and I remember feeling happy about it all. We froze a great bunch of the basil and I also learned to make pesto, which turned out quite yummy.
My container gardens and plants are small. It makes me happy to water them and occasionally move the dirt hoping the sunshine will reach all the right spots. As far as starting small goes, I’ve been scaling a lot of things in my life. I rather like the word scale because now I think of scaling and realize that it means, I’m starting. I maybe starting small, yet I am starting. I’m starting a healthier and more intentional way of life. Maybe this is what being 32 is about, no matter, I am simply striving to show up for myself and the people I love and I may have to start small.
Three containers have found their way to my gym/church. I am hopeful that they will thrive although I was irritable the day I planted them and they are slightly cockeyed, flustered with myself due to two nights of little sleep and high expectations. Those containers are holding peppers, lavender, chamomile, basil, cherry and roma tomatoes. Yesterday they appeared to need some form of repellent as a critter had taken to nibbling the basil leaves. Having those little plants there gives me a sense that I am sort of needed. I’m hopeful that they will motivate me to go on the days that I’d rather stay home, kind of like today.
I sit from time to time in the front porch swing with Tim and admire the little plants. I’ve collected a rock or two from trips to the Piney with my kids, and on our Memorial Day hike. My little eco systems have dirt, rocks, and plants and it feels nice to know that I had a small hand in their health. It hasn’t taken as much effort to nurture them as I first thought.
As sentimental or cliche as it all sounds playing in the dirt brings me new life. I have given up on long lengthy prayers I don’t feel like it’s necessary anymore. I touch the tiny leaves and say, “thank you for the sunshine.”
I make strong efforts to scale my prayers, my workouts, my housework, and my relationships now realizing that I must start small. I must start. I HAVE started a new way of living, one in which I try to listen to the voice inside. My voice, the voice seeking to stretch it’s roots and attach to a loving source, God. His love made manifest in the life around me, the one I have been given, not the one I idealistically try to create by setting high expectations for myself and others. I pray for peace and for grace, and I say thank you for sunshine, and food, and a tired body, and a long full day. I sip coffee on my friend’s porch and my anxiety wants to rear up and say ,”you should.” I politely and internally say, “maybe so, and this is important too.” It may sound strange that I am trying to learn to have fun, to embrace the present moments of flowers, and water gun giggles so that I can know that I am alive versus trudging through one moment to get to the next afraid that I didn’t get it all done, or get it all right.
Fear and anxiety are steady weeds, in fact this morning I woke up anxious for no reason other than I know that in two days I will have to work, which I enjoy my new job, but I’m tired. Also it always makes me just a tiny bit sad to leave my kids, anywhere. Even when I know they will have splendid times playing with Grandma and Grandpa. Scaling means starting small, it also means pressing into the pain to find the new life, the new growth, the new strength. Maybe it’s a season but Crossfit has helped me engage with liturgy in a new way. The bar represents an invitation to be molded and shaped, it doesn’t “feel,” good per se, and sometimes it spurs on soreness but I stand taller these days, I hold my head up a wee bit knowing that I am capable most times of more than what I had first thought possible. I learn to be thankful for my body rather than always nagging it over not being, ______enough. insert vocabulary on any given day, skinny, pretty, smart, etc. And now I occasionally think I am “strong,” enough…this opportunity provided me only because my Creator saw fit to let me have one more day of breathe in my body. My sweat hits the mat and I say grace, (and occasionally a few other select less spiritual words haha).
Practice makes permanent. My muscles remember certain moves, and my mind when gently directed to flower petals, and reading to my kids, remembers to breathe and give thanks. These little steps towards nurturing my relationship with my God, my family, my friends, and myself brings new life and depths to my experiences. New roots are forming and with them new invitations to bloom where I am planted firmly in God’s love in the here and now.
Teresa of Avila-
All things must come to the soul from it’s roots, from where it is planted.