Dry Leaves and Green Sprouts

Everything in our garden died. We planted it with the intent of watering and weeding regularly, but with the newness of everything else in LA, the garden was one of the things that fell behind. Just days after planting broccoli, the leaves were decimated by some unknown insects, and the stalks were left to wither. Eventually, the peas dried up, and the hearty gourds too. My thyme turned brown and the sage was destroyed by similar insects that attacked the broccoli. I felt guilty every time I walked past the front of the house, looking at a dry and shriveled plot of land that had so much potential in the beginning, but had been neglected.

So I didn’t touch the garden. I didn’t pull up any plants, even a month after I had decided to give up on trying to revive it. I went into the garden to empty our compost into the compost pile, and to pick lemons from our tree, but other than that I tried to avoid looking at all the other plants.

And when I came back from Christmas break, even my little peppermint plant, that I had been nurturing in the windowsill in our house, was dried up. 10 days was too long without water. I felt something inside me shrivel up too; some sort of guilt for feeling like I’d failed at such a simple task. Despite everything else I’ve been able to do well, including keeping myself and the neighborhood kids alive, letting the garden die seemed like such a monumental failure.

This morning I went to the garden again to pick lemons, but something else caught my eye. We’ve had a good amount of rain in January, and so the weeds have been popping up all over the place. I took a closer look at a very large and oddly shaped plant before taking a step back. That wasn’t a weed. That was a broccoli plant. A live, and thriving broccoli plant. I looked around the garden to where the other broccoli plants had been, and all of them were growing. Those stripped and shriveled stalks that I had left for dead months ago were growing. And not just growing, but healthy! The thyme was budding with new leaves, the sage was growing taller, and the pea stalks were doing the same thing. When I went inside to finally throw away my peppermint plant, I saw that tiny baby green leaves had begun to bloom on one branch. I could hardly believe any of it. Every single one of those plants had looked completely dead to me. I hadn’t seen a bit of life in them, but I guess it was lingering, somewhere deep inside the roots.

We talk a lot about new life and growth in the spring, and especially around Easter. But I saw for myself today how God can make anything (or anyone) grow and bloom even in winter, or in times when everything looks dead. That’s symbolic, and can remind us that when we find ourselves caught in routine, or in a slump, that we don’t have to let things shrivel up and die inside us. Even a garden that has been left for dead has a little bit of life inside it, buried deep where it just needs a little bit of nurture to start to bloom again.

Maybe what happened in our garden here is just nature doing it’s thing, or maybe it was a little miracle. But either way, I can see how God works in my life through simple and unexpected things, and also the larger and more iconic demonstrations of His mercy, love and power. And I like the reminder that I always have a spark of life in me, regardless of how I feel at the time, or what the circumstances are.

So anyway, our plants have a new start and a new chance to bloom. And lucky for us, God never tires of giving us new starts and new chances to bloom as well.

Much love and life to all! ❤



One thought on “Dry Leaves and Green Sprouts

  1. Rowena- thanks for the beautiful comparison between your garden and the surprising ways that God works to bring growth in our lives. Whether I am able to visit you and your household in person or not, I am keeping you and your ministry in my prayers this year. And I look forward to having you at Bluffton next fall!

    Liked by 1 person

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