Saturday, February 15, 2014


Five Minute Friday, Linkup link
This week’s word: Garden


“Garden.” This is s a surprisingly laden word for me. Almost immediately, two pictures pop into my head. Ok. Three. Thus is the magic of the imagination.

 I think of my mom, and how she loves gardens but isn’t particularly great at tending to them. I tease her by saying she’s really great at growing jungles (of weeds), but there’s no malice behind the jest. I know she loves the colorful beauty of a well-tended garden, but like most of us, the “tending” gets lost in the everyday chaos of life. I’ve bypassed this at my home by simply refusing to garden for now. Maybe one day I’ll embark on a journey to home-grown asparagus and yearly planned flowers. But for now, I’m haunted by our once-in-a-blue-moon weeding efforts to rescue and resuscitate my mom’s garden dreams.

I think of the “Secret Garden.” That great children’s classic that gives hope to anyone who has felt afraid to live and love. Dickon will forever hold a special place in my heart, and I’m pretty sure I had a little crush on his character when I was in elementary school.

But the most vivid picture that comes to mind is of a garden in Uganda. I was privileged to visit the home of Pastor Bev in Jinja to celebrate the birthday of my friend Jen. And here, in the middle of dry season, right next to an infamous slum, I encountered a beautiful English garden. I snapped a few pictures that did little capture to splendor and charm of this little oasis, and that evening is full of precious memories for me. My friend is very quiet and reserved. But that evening, I saw her shine. A power outage (normal fare in Uganda) forced us to celebrate by candlelight and good old-fashioned storytelling. And the small, intimate, stripped-down evening suited her to a t.

Later in my trip, I returned to that garden to hitch a ride with another local missionary under Bev’s ministry. We took an SUV out to a distant village, picking up numerous passengers on our trek, and I had the distinct joy of sharing an encouraging word with the local village women. Two translators immediately repackaged my words into both Lugana and Swahili (which was beyond bizarre), and in many ways that day opened the floodgate of missionary work in my life.

So yeah, “garden” brings me back to both my childhood and that trip to Uganda. I’m ever so grateful to both.

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