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Garden Meandering
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By Ruth Smith Meyer

"I come to the garden alone while the dew is still on the roses...and he walks with me and he talks with me..."

The song echoed in my heart again as we drove up to our house and saw the freshly washed lawn and flowerbeds after we came home from a memorial service where we had heard that familiar hymn again. This time it was young woman in her 47th year. Last week it was a Godly woman of 99 ½ years of age. Life takes on new meaning as we are faced with its brevity. As I walked toward the front door, the little purple-hued violas and pansies smiled up and me. The fuchsia-pink roses peeped from between the lush hostas nodding their heads in welcome. I wondered, "Is there a better place to feel God’s presence and hear his voice than in a flower-garden?"

As I looked at each bloom I realized how much they have to tell us. Look closely. The details of each petal and the difference of each kind whisper to us how God values each and every one—the similarities but especially the differences. The colours display a vast range of personalities—sunny, bright oranges, yellows and reds. Luxuriant, deep reds, purples and blues add their richness. But a combination of colours brings out the best of both. I have a painted daisy&mdsash;the deep purple of which I love, but I could barely see it from the house until I planted a white petunia behind it. Now it stands out in an impressive show of its splendor.

The natural inclinations of each plant demonstrate the usefulness of differing gifts. Some, like Clematis, climb. We have one that has outgrown the trellis, has gone beyond the wooden fence and overtaken a small Rose of Sharon. It seems determine to put on the best show possible. Some, like those little violas just keep on spreading. They were planted as a neat border, but have gradually filled in any empty spot. But they look so happy I left them and they cheer even passersby. Some flowers stand straight and tall and some are content to be contained in a small clump, showing off their strength and beauty in that way. Some bloom all summer long and others are valued all the more because their blooms last only a short time, but their beauty and fragrance linger long in our memory.

It struck me that a well arranged garden capitalizes on the differences. The right combinations and great variety of colour looks better than all one colour or hue. You need them all from the tall ones at the back to the very short at the front. The longer-lived ones provide continuity as the shorter-lived ones burst into colour in turn and then fade to let something else have the stage.

It's like that in families, churches and communities and indeed, in life, isn't it? Just as I rejoice in the distinct attributes of the different flowers, I can rejoice in the diverseness of my family, friends and fellow church members. I can also be content with who I am and the gifts with which God has endowed me. I can bloom where I am planted.

Ruth Smith Meyer

The Word Guild Award Finalist for short story in Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider

Also author of Not Easily Broken and Not Far from the Tree, stories of a mother and her daughter based on the lives of two strong women, and Tyson's Sad Bad Day, a story to help children and their parents deal with death and grief.






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