Guys. I’ll admit: I’m pretty “basic.”
Granted, I don’t drink Starbucks, and Uggs are not my footwear of choice, but I definitely can relate to the stereotype, probably more than I’d like to admit.
Like my affinity for Audrey Hepburn.
Now, to be fair, I never saw Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but hey — I like a pair of oversized sunglasses and pearls like the best of ’em.
But I was scrolling through my Facebook feed yesterday, and I came across a quote, alledgedly by Miss Hepburn:
It goes like this:
“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”
And for whatever reason, that idea really stuck with me throughout the day.
Maybe because I love flowers so much. Maybe because it was full of hope, but it succeeded in getting me thinking.
You see, gardens have a special spot in my heart. They’re meaningful. But not for what Audrey is musing about.
For me, they mean something more.
To plant a garden, and care for a garden, is to learn how to take care of a living thing.
My recovery from anorexia has had its ups and down. I’ve been in recovery for eight years now, but there was a time, right after inpatient, that I relapsed. I am not proud of it, but it is part of my story.
Long story short, I had to move home after my first semester at college to get healthy and kick ED out of my life once and for all.
Well, during that time at home, I began to care for my mother’s garden.
I’ll be honest, it started out as just a coping mechanism after eating. Something to get my mind off of triggering thoughts, and to get outside, get some fresh air. Clear my head.
But it quickly began to be something more.
Day after day, I would go out and and water those flowers. Pick away the weeds, monitor their growth. I found joy in seeing the roses climb up the trellis and bloom. I was learning to care for these delicate and tender flowers as I was learning to care for myself.
I was blooming as they were blooming.
Obviously, there is a hackneyed metaphor of God being the master gardener. Jesus is the Vine. We are the branches. God tends the vineyard.
We get it.
And it’s a cliche because it truly is a beautiful allegory.
But I’m not going to waste your time with that right now.
There is beauty in taking care of yourself.
Gardening teaches one patience.
Recovery was not an overnight phenomenon.
I think today, we’re so used to instant gratification. We post an instagram photo and within the hour we get X number of likes. We order something on Amazon, and we can get it the following day. Cell phones, Facebook chat, FaceTime. Patience is a dying art.
Flowers take time to bloom. To expand and anchor their roots. Have the buds open up. Drink the water. Soak up the sun.
So too, do we.
That time, tending my mother’s garden was a very special time in my life. I haven’t had a garden since. It was a one time deal. But the lessons I learned have stayed with me.
Yes, the garden would give me hope for the following day; bating my breath for the day when the pink would pop through the tight bud.
But it taught me the importance of gentleness. Gentleness with myself. With allowing myself to grow. To heal. To bloom.
And the thing about gardens is that they’re never finished. Seasons are constantly changing. What looks dead in the winter will find new life again in the spring. What a beautiful image of hope that is.
Everyday, I’m still growing. Blooming. Each day, Jesus reveals something new in my spirit – reminding me of who I was, showing me His love for me, reminding me of His mercy.
Blooming is scary. But it is not impossible. Not with Him. Not with God.
The thing about gardens is that they’re not just for the gardener to enjoy, but everyone who passes by.
A garden makes an impact. Makes the world a brighter place. That is my deepest prayer – that maybe another person could find encouragement and hope in my garden. That the blooms could point to Him. Remind others of His goodness. Faithfulness. Mercy.
That is the power of a beautiful garden.
One that both you and I possess.
Audrey, yes. Gardens remind us of hope for tomorrow. But they also teach us about the importance of caring for yourself. And allowing yourself to bloom. Because when we do, the world becomes a brighter place. And the beauty of the One who created these flowers can be seen by all who encounter it.