I stand in the Garden alone, transfixed by the beauty I see around me. The lovely apple trees flowering here and there, with bees buzzing about them… the vibrant colours of the flowers that bloom in elegantly chaotic masses. Red and pink bleeding hearts; white and red and yellow roses; the Oriental poppies; the heavy pink peonies. I take a few steps deeper into this garden, stepping on the stepping stones the Gardener has masterfully created and placed in strategic places. Just under that one huge lone oak tree, is the bench. I come to this bench often, just to sit and watch the Garden. I watch the Garden grow, change, become.
Today, again, I have come to sit on this bench. As I sit down, I glance down and open my hands. In my hands are the Seeds. A smile spreads across my face as I see my beloved Seeds that the Gardener gave me. I know the Gardener loves me. Every time I look at the Seeds, I remember the love that shone in his eyes as he placed them in my hands, one by one. Each Seed is so unique—none are quite the same. I close my hand again over these my beloved Seeds, and sigh with contentment. The Gardener loves me. And I love him. And I love his Garden. Oh, it’s so peaceful and beautiful here! Unmindful of time passing, I gently stroke the Seeds with my thumb, humming a soft melody.
What strikes my fascination every time I think of these Seeds is the potential they carry! Some are flower seeds, others are possibly trees! Maybe a cherry tree! Or an apple tree! Or could it be an oak tree? It seems wild to me just thinking of the fact that the Gardener chose to give me the gift of these Seeds instead of using them for himself in this garden. He isn’t selfish, see. That’s what I love about him. I would never part with these Seeds, a gift right from the hand of my beloved Gardener!
I hear footsteps. My heart quickens. Who could it be, intruding on my time alone here in the Garden? I clutch tightly my Seeds.
When I see that it is the Gardener himself, I smile. Ah. It is him. The one who made all this possible! The one who made this Garden the reality it is today. I motion with my one free hand for him to come join me on the bench.
“I am enjoying your Garden again,” I say, welcoming him.
“This Garden is one of my favourites, indeed,” he returned with a smile.
“I feel so safe here.”
We share a moment of silence between the two of us, and simply listen to the sound of the breeze moving the leaves above us and the occasional robin’s song.
As he gazes into my eyes, his hand moves to take a hold of my hand. I am embarrassed that it’s my clenched hand that he wants to hold. I give him my other hand.
“What is it that you clutch in your hand, so?” the Gardener asks, looking at my fist covering the precious Seeds.
“Oh,” I say softly, opening my hand to reveal the treasures. “These are the Seeds you gave me.”
“Is that so?” He looks closely, and a puzzled look crosses his face.
“Yes, sir. I treasure them so! Thank you for giving me them.”
The puzzled look continues on his face, and this perplexes me only slightly. “You remember giving me these Seeds, don’t you?” I ask.
“Yes, I gave you those Seeds.”
I nod, satisfied, clenching my fist shut again over the Seeds.
“Why are you still holding these Seeds?”
I look up in surprise. “You gave them to me, good sir!”
“Yes I did. But why do you still have them?”
“Still have them?” I exclaimed. “What would have had me do with them? I treasure the gifts you gave me!”
“How long ago did I give them to you?”
“Oh, you gave me these at different times. A few of them you gave me when I was a child. You gave me some more sporadically throughout the years. This one here—“ I touch the large Seed”—this one you gave me only but a few months ago.”
“Oh child!” the Gardener says. He looks sad. I have no idea why. “Why are you holding onto them still? So long?”
A perplexed and sad feeling creeps over me. “I don’t understand, sir. I cherish the Seeds you gave me. Would you that I had thrown them away?”
“I didn’t give you Seeds in order for you to hold and cherish them as Seeds. I meant for you to cast them into the ground. These will never become fruits or flowers until you do.”
The Gardener leaves me on the bench as he walks away to tend to another portion of the Garden.
I look at the Seeds in my hand. A tear rolls down my face. Then another. I cannot part with my Seeds! I have grown so fond of them! My hand has held nothing but these precious seeds for years… and there’s nothing I’ve delighted more in touching than the smooth surfaces of them. And I cannot imagine letting go of them now. I shake my head and stand up to wander.
I don’t understand this. I have fought to keep these Seeds. Some people have tried stealing them from me. I’ve worked hard to keep them safe, and to keep them with me at all times. I’ve shown my Seeds to my friends, and told them the beautiful stories of when Gardener handed them to me. Everyone knows how much I love these Seeds. Everyone knows me according to these Seeds. These Seeds are my identity! These Seeds have defined who I am my entire life! So how can the Gardener ask me to or even expect me to let go of these Seeds? I don’t understand! I just don’t understand!
But I love the Gardener so much. All I want to do is to please him and bring him joy. All I want is to adore him. All I want is to be with him and to know him. Every time I see him my heart quivers with love. Yet now he asks me to part with the very thing he gave me? Oh….! Oh…….! I cannot still the groaning in my heart. I would rather die than give up my treasure. In my spirit I feel like to give up my treasure, really is to die. Honestly that’s what it is, considering that all my life this treasure has been my identity. My reputation. My life. If I give it up… Oh! But I do so want to honour the Gardener! After all, he’s the one who gave me these!
The struggle is hard. I weep hard. I pace. I cry. I scream. I sit in complete silence, refusing to think further of the possibility of no longer having the treasure in my hand.
At last, surrender sets in. It comes slowly. I love the Gardener too much. My eyes dart back and forth, between my now open hand and the Garden around me. I cannot simply cast them away. I pace the Garden until I remember an open spot where the Gardener has not yet planted anything. When I get there, I am surprise that it is freshly tilled.
I take a deep, deep breath. Today is the day I die. Or shall I say, the day that the me that I myself and everyone else has come to know is to die.
Stooping, I remove one small Seed from my hand. I shove it deep into the earth. And then I shove in another, and another. I kneel. Weeping, I press each Seed into the ground. With each Seed that I let go of, I remember the story behind it—the day the Gardener gave it to me and the memories it brings. As I shove the last Seed, the largest one, deep into the black earth, I feel a presence behind me.
I make no effort to wipe off my mascara and tear stained face. I turn to look. I knew it would be him. The Gardener. My hands are both empty.
The Gardener, who I so madly love, smiles. “Now I can hold your hand,” he says.
My hand feels empty. There are no Seeds to stroke lovingly. But the emptiness is fast replaced when the Gardener slips my now empty hand into his. It’s the first time we’ve actually held hands. I am surprised. This is what I have been missing out on? I used to hold onto something he had given me, and yet what he wanted was to hold my hand? This by far exceeds the treasure I used to hold!
I forget. I forget how madly I used to love the Seeds he gave me. All I know now is his love for me. I know his love first hand. I know his love directly. I’ve never felt this safe. This loved. This protected. This cherished! I’ve never felt so alive!
Each week that goes by, something happens in the patch of ground where I cast my Seeds. Things happen that I couldn’t have dreamed of had I still been holding onto them!
I’ve never seen such rich flowers, foliage, trees! Had I not let go of the Seeds and lowered them into the ground to die, I would never have realized that the Gardener had given me exotic Seeds from another world. But now I know.
Today, I know. Because today my Lover the Gardener and I sit on a newly fashioned bench under an exotic shade tree. Today I eat the exotic fruit of a tree that has never before existed in this world. And do you know what the wild thing is? As each year goes by, I collect more and more of the same Seeds I used to savour in my hand. Only now, I pass them on to others who need to experience this new life of love and excitement and joy. I’ve seen their Seeds grow too.
I feel unexplainable joy every time I look over the fence of our Garden, into the Gardens of others, and see the trees and the flowers that once were Seeds from the trees and flowers that once were my Seeds that the Gardener had given me. I call our Garden, “A Garden of Dreams.”
Read more articles by Crystal Dueck or search for articles on the same topic or others.
Breathtaking! Wow. So enjoyed this; I just wanted to hear more and more. This story is really very beautiful, especially when you had planted the seeds, and then your 'Gardener' was able to take your hand. Very touching. Thank you.
I don't usually read a lot of the articles but the title caught my attention and i don't remember when i was so captivated to read on even knowing where it was going and yet i was compelled to go. How wonderful to have the gift to cause the reader to want to follow the Lord even more !!
Very beautifully done and so true. Until we let go of the seeds that we are given then others can not reap the fruits of what has been given to us. Sometimes we must get past the "about me" and look from God's perspective that it is about others also. This is a very beautifully written message that I am sure will touch many hearts. Think of it as the seed. You released this article for others to reap beautiful fruit also. Great Job!!