I could easily spend all day today in the garden and not do everything that needs doing: all the irises need to be dug up and divided, many of the daffodils the same. John Sharp has brought us a rosebush, which he wonders if we can revive. I am certain that we can. Where to put it is, as yet, unknown. The other three rosebushes in front are, I now believe, misplaced there, and would be happier against the house, where they can climb on the wall. And then there are the dahlias -- they need to come inside. But not just yet.
I think what I'll do first is plant the bulbs -- autumn crocuses here, maybe a few daffodils, and then many, many daffodils over at Corinna's house. Then she and the girls will wake up to yellow daffodils one spring day. I think I will do something for the future, before I begin packing away the past.
I know, of course, that I must do both. Keeping up with things is a tremendous amount of work. But if we do not plan for new things, we end up mere curators of what has always been. We will never refresh ourselves with the new. And sometimes we have to get ready for new things even if we don't have our act completely together. Never think you can't plan for the future just because you don't have it all together now. You will never have it all together.
A garden is so much like a church. So much care and feeding. Such competitiveness among the plants -- some of them literally choke each other to death if you don't get out there and put a stop to it. The big gorgeous ones get lots of attention, but then one comes along that looks almost dead all season and suddenly, almost overnight, blooms splendidly forth. Never write anybody off completely. You just don't know.
Some of them just can't grow where you try to put them. They need to move to where they can be more at home. That place may not even be in your garden -- just because you want them doesn't mean yours is the bext place for them. Sometimes you have to admit defeat, and give them away.
In all the planting and husbandry, your role is so secondary -- God is the main actor in a garden, and God's special relationship with each plant is so much more determinative of its life than anything you will do. You provide a comfortable place with the right light and the right soil and they do the rest. The will to grow and propagate is powerful in them, and they are good at it. God has endowed them with exactly the intelligence they need to keep their kind going.
And there's where the similarity ends. The goal of a plant is to perpetuate its kind. It will do whatever it must to accomplish that. People aren't plants, and a church isn't really a garden. Human beings can transcend our own needs for the good of others if we decide to do that. Some of us have actually given their lives to that end. Churches that exist solely for their own sakes ought more properly to be considered museums, or social clubs.
And people who exist solely for their own needs, who never lift their eyes from their own plates?
They never bloom. And they just can't understand why.