Friday, February 20, 2015

A Divine Delay ?

A Pearl Maxwell Camellia
I just love it when a bud opens - or better yet several dozen - and out pops a blossom that just about takes my breath away.

Due to the unusually warm weather we have had here in the Northern California foothills this February, lots of things are in bloom about a month early.  Some are even two months early. Daffodils are everywhere you look.  

Camellias that generally do not appear until early April are already in full display.  Azaleas are truly eye-catching.  The black plum trees are already blossomed out and are putting on leaves.

Early enjoyment - what a treat.  Except when it shouldn't be.  Not yet.  Not quite yet.

My wonderful old "Pearl Maxwell" -  is a double-blossomed, pale pink, camellia bush about twelve feet tall.  It is about twenty years old, and it used to be nearly twenty feet tall; but we pruned it back, hard, a couple of years ago.  There is really no point in having blossoms so high only a stray giraffe can see them.

Since it has been hovering around seventy degrees and sunny (and dry, regrettably) old "Pearl" blossomed out in mid-January.  Just sprang forth like a fountain.

And in early February we had a much-needed downpour that lasted three days.  

When the deluge was over, Pearl had not only peaked, but was looking decidedly piqued.  Drippy, dreary, and nearly bare of pink flowers.  She bloomed too early and when the still-winter rain came she got beaten and was left bare.  Phooey!  I just hate when that happens.
                                                # # # # #
Patience is not my middle name.  I am not known for being blase' about much of anything.  I move, I drive, I go at things.

During these past three years of gardening with a passion, I have learned a lot.  (Not nearly as much as I would like to know ... see paragraph above this one.)

Here are a couple of things I have experienced gardening that are fairly applicable to my spiritual life as well.  Timing is truly everything.  Perennials are not annuals; and bi-annuals and/or what are called tender perennials are not either one.  You can try to force their blooming cyles, but it won't be pretty.

Things pruned hard - which is sometimes necessary - will likely not bloom that season; but look out in year two because you are going to enjoy a bonanza of productivity.

In other words, things do not produce their very best product until the timing is right for them. Not for the variety in the next bed over, nor for the close cousin two rows behind.  

No, they will do their best when they blossom at just their own right time - right for their particular species, variety, or hybrid type.

Sometimes we fret at what we feel are unreasonable delays in the development of our hearts' desires.  We know what we want, and by the way, we want it now.

But just as God has designed the times and seasons for each tree, plant and flower, so has He designed us to blossom at just the right time in each of our lives.  What we perceive as needless delay, He may have ordained as the timing for our very best season yet.

A divine delay will always produce better results than an premature crop of human effort.  Yeesh.  And it took me until now to realize this?  Yes.  Yes, it did.
                                          # # # # #
Hope you are not feeling drenched or dreary.  But if you are chafing at a delay, I encourage you wait for His timing.  Blessings to each of you - your grateful gardener, Marsha

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Valentine Tool?

Two Dozen Valentine's Day Red RosesIt is almost that time again ... time to break out the hearts and flowers, the strolling violins, the Valentines and the chocolate-dipped strawberries.

How, I ask you, can it possibly be nearly Valentine's Day, 2015?  I am fairly sure that I only finished putting away the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers yesterday.  Can't put away the turkey, I'm married to him.

Seriously, well sort of, this is the guy who did BOTH of the following things in the same year.
We were having dinner at a nice little restaurant, one that was a tad over our usual budgeted fare. White linen table cloths , dimly lit candles, a reputation for fine food. I left the table briefly and when I returned there beside my plate in sweet repose lay a single long-stemmed red rose.  Sighhhhhhhh.......

However, on my birthday that year, I desperately needed a pick-me-up, as life was hard on the job, and harder at home.  You know what I mean - you have had that same kind of week, or month, or life.

He knows I love flowers.  Any kind.  All kinds.  Long-stemmed, short-stemmed, single-blossomed, double-blossomed.  Never met a flower I didn't like.  Okay, there was that one overpowering gardenia that just about put me into cardiac arrest, and a couple of stubborn calendulas that insisted on developing black spot every time I turned around.

Still, ninety-nine times out of one hundred, give me a bouquet and I'll give you my heart.

My birthday arrived and my darling husband produced not a nosegay nor a bouquet.  Not a posy nor even one of those paltry little half-wilted flower arrangements you can buy at Safeway for $4.99.  Nope.

With a little flourish of delight in his own thoughtfulness, he proudly placed a STEP STOOL in front of my wondering eyes.  A very sturdy, Stanley, step stool.

A whaaaaat?  You read it right.

Come on, honey.  For pitiful sakes.  I already know that I am short.  Short-sighted, short-limbed, and in that heart-wrenching moment, short-tempered!

But here is the funny thing.  I have no memory at all, none, of what I did with that rose.  I suppose I must have tossed it the next day - either that, or left it on the backseat of the car to wilt.

But that little step stool - I must have used that thing at least three times a day for the next twenty years.  I really did not appreciate his gift at the time, because I could not help but compare what I got with what I had hoped for.                           # # # # #

I have done that with God more than a few times over the years.  He would give me some truly useful tool in my life, something I could get years of mileage out of; and I would spend six months pining for the fragrance of what I had "hoped for" but never received.  Finally I would stumble over the unassuming tool God had given me to use, and guess what?

It was a thing of pragmatic beauty.  A handy-dandy way to get a handle on my faith, or latch onto a fistful of His promises in a fresh new way.  And I had almost missed it.
                                        # # # # #
We have been married for a little over a quarter of a century now.  This year who knows?  Maybe it will be two-dozen red roses, or maybe it will be a short-handled spade for his gardener/wife.  Either way, I plan to smile and say, "Thank you."

(Lord, please help me to take the same attitude with you, the next time you hand me a pan when I was hoping for a parade.)
Until next time, your grateful gardener, Marsha