/ / Worn Path, More Weeds and Finding a Bloom of Hope

Worn Path, More Weeds and Finding a Bloom of Hope

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Last Friday in the early morning haze, something caught my eye while I stood on my deck assessing what I needed to tackle in the yard and flower bed gardens. 

Besides writing and creating and packing orders for the shop, I had been working outside a lot the last few weeks. It’s one of those places I feel pretty close to God. And there is also a lot to do on this worn path.

So I step outside often to lose myself, grounded in the truth I know. Hope abounds, I find myself again.

Lately in the garden, even among the weeds, is where I feel closest to Jon, too. I can almost feel his breath on my skin. I dig. He pulls.

We spent so much time in the spring season tending, seeding, and growing our gardens over the years. Lately I’m spending a lot of time weeding and mourning.

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow”

Audrey Hepburn

I didn’t spend as much time pulling weeds last year. I don’t even know how the weeds have grown this out of control. Except maybe I do. So many things have taken over.

Little by little they’ve found their way, taking hold and spreading their frustrating little selves across my yard and gardens, around all the beauty and choking out the plants we seeded and grew.

Though exasperated at times, hope still wins.

So as I planned in my mind my work for the next few days and my plotted to plant my new lily of the valley, a splash of color—the color of hope caught my eye in a spot where I have barely made a dent in pulling up the weeds. 

I ran down the steps to the back patio. This path from the steps to the bricks was a labor of love Jon and I completed together a few years ago. The weeds were worse than I have seen, but that is not what caught my eye. 

Though the narrow path was always curved, the stones were now shifted, some were slipping away. Many pebbles washed away, and a beautiful ornamental grass in our trio lining the path somehow was lost along the way for there are only two now.

Distracted from the original reason I ran down here, I leaned down to start pulling weeds. There were so many. That sense of overwhelm creeps in with how much is in front of me. Not just with the weeds. I remind myself I can only pull clumps of weeds at a time. Like taking only one step forward on the path. 

I notice how the soil had eroded and roots were exposed in a few spots. I was assessing the damage of so many years of neglect. I started evaluating and calculating how much work I still have ahead of me. True not just for the gardens. 

This area was a favorite spot where Jon would cook up our grill time favorites.  

Picture from May 2021

But the grill cover has some moss growing on it now; I’m not even sure there is fuel in the tank. Let’s not talk about the last time we attempted to grill. The grill master is no longer with us. The grill feels so inconsequential, yet it represents still another loss. I have other widow friends who say this about their grill, too.

The grill was where Jon tended to us. He filled our bellies and his heart by serving us while I mixed up the other parts of our meals. I digress.

As I pulled weeds, noticed the erosion, and fixed one of the crooked stones on the path, I quickly stopped and remembered why I was here.

I reminded myself I didn’t rush down here because I noticed the overgrowth of weeds or what needed pruning or remediating in the garden. I didn’t come for the weeds. I came for the glory.

What caught my eye among all that was this one stunning purple iris that stood tall among all of the work to be done.

She was shining with so much glory among the unsteady and shifting path, laden with weeds and moss and where soil has been washed away exposing all her roots. She stood there so vulnerable to the next storm that could easily wash her away. 

The Irises barely bloomed last spring or maybe they didn’t bloom. I really can’t say. My attention was elsewhere.

Jon knew how giddy I got when flowers were about to take center stage and explode with their talent across our yards. Yet he knew more how a single bloom would always catch my attention even more than an explosion of blossoms. 

It showed how hard that flower was working to just show up.

For a moment I almost let the weeds distract me from what caught my eye. I’ve noticed grief grips us like that—noticing more of what has to be done, rather than seeing what God is doing.

I almost let the weight of the work distract me from capturing the beauty which first caught my eye.

Somehow among all that needs weeding, fixing, pruning, and tending, I first saw the glory in the growth and the beauty that still blooms among the weeds.

And that little Iris, well, she may feel exposed as storms have washed away the soil that protected and covered her roots. Rather she stands there alone, exposing her beauty in her resilience as she is being made new among the weeds and the moss. 

Maybe one more storm could take her out, but she knows how deeply rooted she is where others cannot see and even after the storms she has withstood, she still has not been washed away. She just stands there and soaks up the sun. 

April Showers do bring May Flowers.

The Iris is a sign of faith, wisdom, hope and valor.

“Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love.”

St. Therese of Lisieux

I’m learning a lot of things in the face of loss – there’s grief, there’s grace, and there’s growth. The path will never be the same–how can it be–but I can grieve and admire what was and is no more, find hope, and grow along a new path.

I am proud of this path we created. What a labor of love.

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