I’m truly a terrible gardener. I so envy those of you with your flourishing english gardens in Southern California. Oh you, with your lovely spring vegetables, showing up with bags of ripe, plump tomatoes on my doorstep- you amaze me. For years I’ve described myself as having a brown thumb. I love the planting, and the watering, and the letting it grow part. But good gardeners tell me that you have to prune things back, cut off the weak and dying parts that are draining energy from the rest of the plant. Now that’s the part I’m terrible at. I feel “bad” about cutting dying branches and blossoms. I think…maybe if I just let them be, it’ll be okay. I don’t want to hurt the plant. So eventually the plant withers and dies. Then I feel bad about myself, and take blame for killing the plant. I’ve also made bad decisions about trying to save injured bees, who eventually sting me and fly away. But sure enough, I’ll do it again. Hmmm…
So yeah…I guess you could say gardening is a metaphor for my life. I’ve been stung many, many times over the last forty-odd years, and in my garden there is a family (of origin) tree that is very sick. My own spirit has suffered and wilted because I didn’t take the necessary action when I needed to. I never pruned that tree, even when it was killing me.
This week I had the most beautiful, warm, heartfelt Christmas with my own family- surrounded by my husband, three children, daughter-in-law and grandbaby, and Troy’s sister. I was completely restored, happy, uplifted knowing that my own family tree is an oak. Solid, tall, strong, invincible. It was a perfect holiday, if I didn’t look outside of my own four walls.
Because outside in that family of origin garden, there were withering branches, fungus, infestation on the vine, pulling energy away from my own spirit, as much as I tried to ignore it.
So today I did it. I pruned an unhealthy branch to preserve my own heart. It scared me to do it, but once it was done it wasn’t such a big deal.
Troy asked me how I felt afterward.
I said I felt like I finally stood up and took care of myself.
And you know what? I didn’t feel bad. I can feel the sun on my face, the nutrients rushing back in. I feel healthier, stronger, and more hopeful.
Maybe this year I will finally blossom.
Maybe I’m learning to have a green thumb after all.