Having a good friend, one with whom you can speak openly and candidly, is like gold. Especially if that friend imparts gentle wisdom and doesn’t pepper the conversation with negatives, such as bunch of do’s and don’ts.
My friend Jo Voon, a native of Singapore now living in Washington DC, is one of those glistening nuggets.
We were talking the other day about how friendships, like anything worth investing in, need to be nurtured and tended to like a beautiful garden.
Jo, by the way, is a wonderful gardener. She toils in the garden all year round just to be able to enjoy the spring flowers. She says gardening is an extension of her spiritual self. As she explained,
“The garden is full and lush; it’s an expression of your heart and soul.”
The conversation meandered on about how we sometimes stumble upon roadblocks that force us to make a U-turn or go in a different direction. But really our challenges are here to help us become a bit more mature, a bit wiser version of ourselves. As we chatted, however, the gardening metaphors popped up like tulips. She offered this,
“We need to have the seasons of spring in our lives to find renewal and rejuvenate. The garden has been symbolic of that.”
In other words, there is time to take rest and celebrate wherever you are in your own life’s journey. It might be hard to believe, but your contributions to the universal garden of life have made a difference. You need to sit back and acknowledge where you are and how far you’ve come. You will find peace in the process and be inspired to continue on.
Perhaps it is not a sudden change that you are working through but a long-term project or goal you are striving towards and, at the moment, you cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe it is a higher educational degree, a new relationship or health regimen that you are pursuing but not yet experiencing any benefits. The point is to be patient and wait for all your efforts to spring forward when the time is ripe.
Jo’s ah-ha moments were overrunning her thoughts like weeds. I quickly grabbed a pen and paper because I knew these words would blow right past me. She stated,
“When you tend to the garden think of it as tending to your heart. You draw inspiration from friends and God. It’s like getting a dose of fertilization that will enrich your garden and life. The time put in will be well worth it.”
Recently we’ve given our garden a face-lift, uprooting the old tree, replacing it with a Japanese maple tree, smaller perennials and annuals. I added a few potted plants around the yard and a colorful table and two chairs giving it a more open, friendly look. Compliments from a few neighbors made me feel that I’m adding to the pleasant aesthetics of our street.
Like bees, Jo’s words kept buzzing in my head.
“When a neighbor walking by expresses his pleasure at seeing your garden and praises you for your efforts, you feel validated. It brings me joy.”
I’m not a great gardener by any means, but my smile brightens every time I look at my little garden patch. The weather here in Germany is still cold and wet, but I know my time in the sun is coming soon. Without the April showers there could be no Mayflowers.
Over To You
What does your garden look like? What are the milestones you can celebrate at this time? I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions.