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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Garden (09/07/06)

TITLE: Flourishing Resiliency
By Noreen Ophoff


Sadness clings to me like outgrown clothing. A myriad of hard times have reduced my address to a tiny, unpainted one bedroom house. My livingroom is dismal in its teeny dimensions. I find it hard to accept that after years of jobs lost, and injuries and unusual illnesses with only experimental treatments, that didn't always work, or left us with side effects of harsh medications, here I am alone and in this gray and abandoned place.

Jason's and my children are embarassed. Their father passed away seven months ago. Our home sold quickly so the mortgage was paid off and I had enough left to purchase this dwelling for the remainder of my years. There is longevity in my family, so I could have decades remaining.

I'll not move in with one of our children. They need their own lives and I need mine. Determination boils within me, although tears are near the surface every moment.

Treasured furniture that could fit here, I've kept. The hutch from Jason's mother with her beautiful gold-edged white china. My great grandparents purchased a dark walnut chest in 1875, to furnish their newly built home. My little TV proudly sits atop it. I've kept the camping gear so the grandkids can camp-out here with me in warm sleeping bags. Together we can cook outside and pretend we're in a deep, wild forest.

The depressing interior of this house is surrounded on the outside by trees of all kinds. Ancient oaks form the boundary line to the west, sugar maples and pines to the north. The yard is a mass of weeds and tangled vines. Walking through it, I can see a little potential. At one time someone cared for this space for there are trellises and rambling roses climbing wildly on them.

Hoes and rakes make no dents in the cement-like soil, so I'm attacking it with a spade. I shovel up a section of the parched soil and turn it over. It feels good to be working outside again. Jason and I had forty-two years together. All that time and I still didn't have enough of him. Now I have memories to sustain me as I make a life of my own. Through those years together, we were "flexible and resilient" and I will be that way now.

I've never seen that phrase, "flexible and resilient", in the Bible, but I think its there in I Corinthinas 13:4 - 8. To have a love that's patient, kind and not easily angered, you have to be flexible and resilient. Its in Galatians 5:21 & 23, the description of the fruits of the Spirit. For a life full of love, joy, peace, goodness and self-control, one has to be adaptable to change.

Three weeks of shoveling and watering in one small area of the yard and I've found one straggly chrysanthemum. It has buds on it and I'm excited to see the color of the flowers. There are iris corms and tiger lilies hiding in the waist high weeds among the trees. It isn't as hopeless as I first thought. When the garden space is flourishing, again my soul and heart will flourish too.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Frances Roberts09/14/06
I like the way you turn a phrase and you kept me interested until the very end.
Donna Powers 09/17/06
I love the contrast here: the hopeless interior vs. the hopeful exterior. Beautiful word pictures too! Very nice!