There was a moment this Sunday, as I sat in church, where I saw how Easter celebrations so easily intertwined with my gardening life. I looked down from my balcony seat and watched my child's second grade teacher- who had built a children's garden outside her classroom door and shared countless seeds with me over the years- lovingly walk her cancer-riddled husband to the alter to receive communion, not at all impatient with the slow laborious steps he needed to accomplish the task. Had the years of teaching children the joy of patiently watching a bulb or seed work diligently to push it's way through the soil prepared her to encourage her beloved to press against the dark world of terminal illness?
My own communion wine was given to me by my kindly neighbor who always stops on his routine run when he sees me working in my yard to ask what new plant I am trying or, "How did I get my roses to look so good." The thoughtfulness of this busy man to engage my plant obsessiveness has always endeared him to me, and receiving the elements of communion by his hand were even more a blessing knowing that he reflected the Savior that he represented.
I picked several hands full of daffodils to decorate my Easter table, thinking as I picked them of the hope that both bulbs and Easter represent. From the darkness of winter and the darkness of the Tomb come a hope of life renewed.
On the other hand, on my way into church I passed the lady who recently, with false accusations, had so rudely addressed those of us working with plants to improve a local neighborhood. Stressful interactions are no fun, but handling them by holding firm to what I know is true is what can make me a stronger. My plants, also, have to deal with stressful extremes - temperature, water, soccer playing boys - and their roots have grown deeper and stronger to bring me years of enjoyment. Even as this lady averted my greeting, I hoped that that the Easter message would give her hope to handle the stresses making her so unhappy in life.
I pass other friends in the church hallways, friends who have sweated with me over garden beds in a Katrina torn Mississippi town, friends I've shared irises or daylilies with, friends who've given both garden and life advice over the years. My Easter Sunday is planted in the rich soil of long friendships.
My garden reflects renewing life. Easter celebrates the renewal of life. It a small way I realize that I celebrate Easter every day in my garden as new life springs eternal.