By Dr. Penny Freeman

Today I planned my garden…

Not the one I usually do…

In fact, I pulled up to the outside of my scraggly house and assessed the outside beds and grass. Usually, as soon as we have a few good weekends in the 70s, I migrate outside as my neighbors do into the yard to rake and bag leaves or sticks blown down by the winter. I attempt to start weeding beds that are sprouting dandelions along with hyacinths and daffodil bulbs.

This year, my assessment was an audible sigh that came from a realization that I probably don’t have it in me to put the 20 or 30 hours into creating garden beds. I have a tiny medical issue going on in my neck that is pushing me to remember – I am dust; and my dusty parts are daily complaining at me so that I am literally sitting, propped up on a heating pad as I type so as to NOT cry while I wait for the Tylenol to kick in.

The sigh also included a humbling call to a landscaper. One I didn’t think I would make for a few more years. But, it makes sense that if I can’t keep my house from looking like the creepy house where feral cats might be lurking behind weeds; that I might need some help from a landscaper who can put in shrubbery. Besides, by then, the shrubs will look natural and make our home ready for sale (and by then we no doubt need to move to the assisted living place in 3 years for older adults in Depends). And since I was already mentally living in a wheel chair, I came in and cleaned out all my closets just to make sure I wouldn’t be burdening my kids with too much junk. (Now you know why my neck is really hurting). This may or may not have something to do with the mail I am getting that reminds me I soon turn 64.

All was good until I picked up the stupid Plow & Hearth Summer Catalogue. Talk about “desire on steroids”. What a deadly and heavenly appointment awaited? It is full of well manicured lawns while mine is uneven and slopes towards the house. When it rains, my yard takes a full 7 days to absorb the water and the deceitfully green “swamp/yard” stops sucking your foot when you walk on it. There are no weeds in these Plow & Hearth manicured lawns and they sell you sweet gardening tools that seem to work magic. I have slaved for years to make my yard submit…and it still isn’t anything like York, England. The patios look lovely and cool in this catalogue. However, my patio this year took winter hits and there are cement boulders out there that are sure to trip my three grand-toddlers and skin tender knees, and the heat back there is a sweltering 120 after 2pm.

Ten pages in I am crying like a little girl whose ice cream just fell in the dirt.“I want heaven… I want a garden… GOD. I. WANT. A. SECRET. GARDEN… I WANT TO LIVE IN A GARDEN, PLEASSSEEE. Can I have a garden when I get to heaven?… One that is pretty, with flowering trees and no weeds? One with water features, flowers that bloom in all seasons, with shade and sun and borders? Can there be a bee hive? And birds? Can the grass be the short, soft kind that is lush and always green?

Yes. Today I planned my garden.

He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. – 2 Sam. 22:20