We have a community garden plot again this summer. Because our neighborhood is so shaded, there is no room in our own yard for a garden. We rent a plot in an open field/park area about 1/2 mile from our house. This year we are growing tomatoes, radishes, beets, cucumbers, and beans. I will confess that overall, the gardening experience has been less than magical for me. I feel bad that our plot is not as well groomed as others. I hate mosquitoes. And most nights, the last thing I want to do after work is fill up every possible gallon container in our house (you have to bring your own water), load it into our car, convince the boys to come with me, and then drive over to the plot. We have been less than diligent this summer.
After being away for a week, my husband drove out to the garden yesterday to assess the damage. I was secretly hoping that it would be beyond repair and we could say “oh well! We tried!” and be done with it. No such luck. He called to say that the vegetables were still there and that they were growing. In his words, it was “worth salvaging.” There were even enough radishes there to harvest. I grumpily packed up the car and headed over to help. When I arrived, there were weeds and grass as tall as my knees. The vegetables looked like they were completely gone. Where was all this stuff that could be saved?
It was there, growing in spite of the weeds. Growing under the weeds. Growing within the weeds.
The ground was moist and soft after all the rain last week. So, pulling weeds was actually quite easy. My husband taught the boys how to look for the plant first. Squat down right next to it. Find the plant with your eyes and your hands. Then, gently pull the weeds away from the plant. Work closest to the plant first, then move in a circle farther and farther out so the plant has room to grow. Especially the cucumbers. They need a lot of space.
The dirtier I got, the better I felt. It was fun to see something overgrown and unruly turn into an actual garden that will provide sustenance for our family. We worked hard and we made a lot of progress. There was a great sense of satisfaction that came from putting in that time and effort. And, the quiet time I spent on the ground helped me think about the weeding out that I need to do in my own life.
There is someone who I need to forgive. I know in my heart that I haven’t yet and I know in my heart that I need to and that I want to. Holding on to my anger and frustration is only making more weeds and more work for me. Holding on is doing me no good. I’ve been close. And, I am closer now than I was before. But there is part of me that is hanging on. Part of me is still attached to the righteous indignation that I feel at having been betrayed by someone whom I once loved and trusted. Part of me is still hoping for a happy ending. Part of me is secretly hoping that I do not have to forgive her ever, that I can just let the weeds overtake the fruit.
Relationships are like gardening. Results yielded are directly proportional to time spent. I know this. I’m hoping to find the courage to keep digging and get dirty. Forgiveness is tough stuff.