This time of year it’s easy to find pictures of seeds sprouting, of flowers blooming and seasons coming into bloom. For the rode-hard warrior, spring’s planting may be filled with trepidation…the pictures encourage us with beautiful bounty on the seed packets, the bags of soil promise healthy, happy growth, but for those of us who have been through a few storms, planting a garden means taking the risk when one knows that it may not turn out.
When I remarried almost thirteen years ago the attitude among my close friends was I was either the bravest heart they knew or the most willing to crush themselves again. I had seen two seasons of marriages fail in two decades. Two small children in my care, a full time job, a side job and life seemed to say, “Isn’t your world full enough?” About the time I was sure that my life was quite full enough, enter a man from another state, with two additional children, older than mine, and impossible odds of a relationship working out. Thirteen years later I cannot imagine this life of mine without my older two children, their spouses, and my husband.
Harvests cannot come if we do not prepare and plant the seeds.
This year as I plant my above ground garden, put plants in the ground on our little three acre space, I am reminded that each season brings its own rewards. Through the failed marriages I learned how to love more fully, forgive more deeply. Through single parenthood and shared parenthood I learned about making time count and the value of peace among families. In our marriage with our older children I learned the gift of restoration, of forging new ways and honoring old ones.
Our hopes are like those seed packets. We can look at pretty pictures, we can watch others’ harvests, but until we’re ready to prepare our lives and do the work to clear the debris, the seed packets cannot do their work. This year, as I planted such tiny seeds in our deep soil, I realized again that whether they are leggy, must be separated, or perhaps too weak to survive, the planting allows me to remember that when we dare to do the work, hope burst through like the sprigs through the soil. With each experience we learn, we can choose to grow, and in the end learn what makes our garden grow.