Gardening, Like Life, Can Be Messy

 By Sister Christine Parks

I’ve been sitting with my morning coffee, looking out the window and thinking about gardens—in particular my gardens—which are gasping dryly in this un-seasonal heat. It’s the middle of July which brings us close to the middle of another summer—another summer that is flying by much faster than I like.

My gardens have suffered this year from heat (we’ve already had way more 90 degree days than is “normal” for Michigan), lack of rain, and from neglect. I’ve been gone more than usual, or so it seems, with little time to tend them, and thus my garden beds are a mess! True my gardens were never quite up to the standard of Better Homes & Gardens, but they did start out a bit more orderly and contained than they are today. An apt metaphor for a goodly portion of my life some days.

MaycroftGarden CLParks photoGrass and weeds abound in the perennial bed. And, in the deep shade out back, wild things are creeping up into the bed and threatening a take-over. I’m trying to believe that they are a valued part of the creation I know I am “one with”; but it’s not easy when the wild vines begin to strangle the tame perennials I’ve been trying to nurture. Can’t help believing there’s a lot of that going on in our nation and world too.FairyLilies 2016-06I really want to believe what I say to others: weed is just a pejorative word for a plant growing where we don’t want it. But it’s not so easy as I look out at the tangled mass of vegetation, that seems too far gone to redeem this summer. In the world around us too, it seems that it is often easier to label or name-call something or someone than it is to see the potential value or beauty in something or someone who doesn’t conform to our/my notion of value or beauty.Butterfly on bushBut it’s too hot to get preachy today…and I really need another cup of coffee before I head out with the hose and weed digger. One of the best ways I know to get centered for the work ahead.

About the Author

Christine Parks
Sister Christine Parks currently serves as a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph Leadership Team. Her leisure activities include gardening, long walks in nature, reading, writing, attending plays and concerts, as well as museums.

20 thoughts on “Gardening, Like Life, Can Be Messy

  1. betsy meagher,csj says:

    Good reflection on nature and our own lives, Christine. Thank you for sharing these helpful insights & pics! B


  2. Frankie Dutil says:

    I am not much of a gardener but I truly love gardens and all of nature’s beauty. Your comparison to life is oh, so true. Thanks.


  3. Mary M says:

    A taxi driver gave a friend this advice years ago: Every person you meet knows something that you don’t know. Listen and learn. It reminds me that we all have value, if we are open to the gifts of others.


  4. Marilyn Lombardo says:

    Sister Christine I am searching for some peace in having the same gardening dilemma happening here in Cleveland ,Ohio also … But unfortunately I am hold up with Sciatica Pain and can’t if I wanted to get as far as watering or weeding … the deer and coons are taking care of all my blooms for me so that’s not a problem this year! Thanks for your words … I envy you so feel great about yourself! And thanks for the pictures of your pretty gardens!


  5. Judy Rose says:

    Your comment “a weed is just a pejorative word for a plant growing where we don’t want it” reminded me of a quote our biology teacher, Sr. Evelyn (Anthony) Micka-CSJ Medaille, had on the Biology lab board which stated: “A weed is a plant whose virtues have yet to be discovered.” I have lots of “plants whose virtues need discovering” in our garden. I appreciated your reflection on our everyday lives. Blessings.


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