For the first 4 years of our marriage, my husband and I lived in old farmhouse that was converted into two apartments. We lived upstairs and our entryway was the original front door. Neither of us are ‘gardening’ or ‘plant’ people and being in a second-floor apartment kept us happily removed from maintaining the outside.
Each spring, however, we were surprised by the bright, cheerful daffodils that seemed to pop up out of nowhere. We’d get so busy with work and life that these flowers were a beautiful reminder to stop being on auto-pilot and appreciate the nature around us.
In addition to the daffodils, there were tulips and hostas and black-eyed Susan’s that flowered faithfully each year. And we did absolutely nothing to maintain it.
Because of this, the flowers beds were also unkempt and overgrown by weeds. I often wonder who labored over the oasis and how she would feel if she saw it now.
I say ‘she’ because I image someone like my mother (who passed a few years ago), stooped over on her hands and knees, carefully planting and weeding. My mother persistently and joyfully cared for her garden with a peaceful diligence.
I’m no expert, but I did learn about annuals and perennials helping out at my friend’s farm in South Jersey as a teenager. Annuals bloom for one season, then die off at the root. Perennials die after a time as well, but the root remains and the flowers bloom again year after year.
It makes me think of legacy and the things we will leave behind when we’re gone.
My mother lived her life with the same diligence and steadfastness that helped her garden flourish. At her funeral, many people shared stories of how my mother’s actions touched their lives. She planted the seeds of kindness, generosity, and love that would live on in those she intentionally cared for.
Those flowers at the old apartment give me hope. They rise, cheerfully, stalwartly, despite the weeds that try to choke them out. The legacy of our mystery gardener is lasting.
It makes me wonder – what seeds are we planting by our words, actions, and deeds? Will they continue to bloom when we’re gone?
While people may not remember my name 2-3 generations from now, I’m determined to leave a lasting legacy.
I will do so by being intentionally kind to people and practicing patience in trying situations. I will do so by instilling values in my two sons to carry throughout their lifetime, and perhaps their children after. And I’ll do so by carefully tending to the not-so-positive characteristics (the weeds, so to speak) that pop up.
When I’m old and gray, I want to be comforted to know that the seeds I’ve sown will bloom again in a colorful display for the next generation to admire.
Photo by matthiasboeckel via Pixabay.
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