“We remembered to live”. This is one of my favorite quotes from a woman named Margaret Gehrke. If you have never seen the Ken Burns documentary on our National Parks, which I think should be required watching for all Americans, you may not know the name. I had never heard of her or her husband before watching that program, but because of the documentary her words travel through time to speak to me. They both took time off each year to get in their car and travel our country and visit the National Parks. Along the way they took photos and she wrote about what they saw. To her, this was living. It makes me think? Am I really living?
So I planted some flowers yesterday, and I counted it as a victory. I am not what you would call a green thumb, but I love gardens, so I am trying to develop one. I have tried in the past to grow things, and while some have grown, most have not. So I am here trying to unpeel the onion that is my brain. You see, my lack of green thumb has less to do with my fifth digit, and more to do with my thick skull. There are obstacles there, and they are the ones in my head that tell me lies. I hate working in my front yard, because we have the worst lawn on the block. I know that if I go out there, my neighbors will judge me. That statement may or may not be true, but when it comes down to it, the feelings of inadequacy are enough to affect how I act. I am no better in my backyard, and because of that, it has become a place of stress instead of refuge. Plus the gophers brought up so much crap, add to that a prolonged drought and bingo the grass is no longer there. Needless to say, I feel inadequate in my backyard also. What does this have to do with “living” you ask? Well, I have come to the conclusion that how my garden looks, is in direct relationship to how I am feeling on the inside. It is a tangible sign of the question, have I remembered to live?
When I was young, I lived next door to a couple that eventually became Grandparents to me and our family. It was in that yard that I started to love gardens. I don’t remember doing much myself, but I was there much of the time as Grandma pulled and planted. The front yard was especially pretty. Her grass was short, soft and surrounded a small redwood tree. At least that is how I remember it to be, but it has been a while. They eventually built a front porch, and some of the best times I can remember were sitting out there with family. That yard was a lesson on who I wanted to be, and the environment I wanted to create in my home.
I recently picked up a children’s book, “The Secret Garden”, and reread that after so many years. As I grew older, I knew the book was special to me, even if I could not remember why? When I read it again, it was me that I saw in those pages. A young girl with a curious mind, wanting to explore and learn, but feeling bogged down by her circumstances. In the book, she was able to push through through and become who she wanted. Maybe that is what I saw when I was young, and was drawn to this character. It may have taken me a while, but now that is a goal I am pushing toward also. To be who I believe God created me to be. I see glimpses of that girl in my memories, and I am trying to dig her out from under the weeds that have entangled her.
Why do the weeding? To some extent, that girl is the person I want to be. The problem is, she got trampled in the cycles of life. Don’t get me wrong, I am a pretty capable woman and have been able to raise my children and be a good wife. The problem is, there is fear when I try to take it outside the safe zone of my family. This blog is an example. My mind screams of the silliness of this path. Why would anyone want to read this?
Well it all goes back to the garden. Eden that is. My favorite part is right before, to put it literally, all hell breaks loose. It is in Genesis when, it speaks of God walking in in the garden when the cool evening breezes were blowing. It may be insignificant to some, but it speaks to how God wants to be with us. So close, we can hear His footsteps. When I know He is close, it gives me strength to try things that I am not good at, or that may be hard for me. Why in the world would I do these things? It is to face whatever fears, hurts or insecurities that may be hindering my actions. To truly be who I was created to be. To remember to live!