Here are a few pictures of my garden when it has been cared for. A related story follows.
I heard the question in the title of this post echo through the house many many times while I was in the process of developing my garden and the following years as I spent much time in it unwinding. It didn't matter if it was actually working in it or resting in one of the sitting areas, all the time spent there felt like a beautiful way to unwind. The answer my wife would receive and that I would hear though the open windows seemed to always be the same as one of my three daughters would respond to their mom's query. He is in the garden. After awhile of hearing that, I actually changed my email address to nthegarden to reflect this echo that became such a common occurrence.
Turns out that within the enjoyment I found in this passion and love I had to create and to get my hands dirty, there was a bit of escapism. I also knew that contained within my wonderful wife's question was a great deal of frustration. We both were stuck.
For the past two growing seasons the garden has been a bit left on her own. Not completely forgotten in any stretch of the imagination but to the point that last year I heard my wife express this several times. It's sad that you haven't taken care of your garden like you used to.
I'm so amazed at the transformation process my family has been immersed in now for many many years. Most of it turns out to have been very very painful. 18 years to be specific, and during those years, being able to see through the pain, frustration and exhaustion, so as to see all the wonderful beautiful things we all were surrounded by was difficult at at times. All of us are in the process of being healed and our relationships are healthier than ever and we continue to move into a deeper realization of this truth.
The garden is still a mess at this time more so than ever, but underneath, it's beauty remains, and it longs for a tender touch of a caring gardener...or gardeners. My wife told me the other day that she wanted to spend time in the garden this year with me taking care of it. I think there is another garden coming to life? I know there is, I've been watching it happen over the past two years right before my eyes. I blogged awhile back about gardens being depictions of our lives. You can read it here.
Our relationships are becoming healthier than ever due to some caring hands. Papa, Jesus and Sarayu have been making themselves very real over these past two years and nothing compares to their caring hands. But as they have been at work healing my family, I see the transformation that is taking place and some other hands are being transformed to reflect the care we are experiencing from the three of them. I worked so hard for so long to make all of this happen and just added to the already existing mess. Self-effort has a way of doing this. Through it all I have come to recognise another providential act of God. The frustration, exhaustion, anger, and pain turns out to have been a wonderful thing, it was the end of the insanely twisted self-effort that I had convinced myself was a good thing. The end of that way of living has been beneficial to us all.