It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.
~ Robert Francis Kennedy
About a year ago I was going through a difficult time at work. My job had been cut to part time, and certain people were less than professional. The treatment was appalling, and those around me that I worked with and respected all said the same thing, ‘I cannot believe how well you are taking all this. You are handling it with such grace.’ I was fascinated by this word grace. It had so many meanings. And to describe me as having grace I thought was far fetched. So I looked up a few definitions for grace:
- elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action.
- a pleasing or attractive quality or endowment.
- favor or good will.
OK definitely not #1. I am a klutz and have no elegance in motion. An attractive quality…hmmm…not sure what this means, but don’t see it as a description of me. Favor or good will…maybe? So I checked out the synonyms and hit on this one– kindness, kindliness. I have also heard grace described as an inner beauty. So what does it mean to describe someone as having grace or being graceful in a difficult situation?
I think it really is about letting go…not focusing on the difficult situation, but instead staying above the mess. Not playing games, not getting down on someone else’s level, but doing what is right even when you know it is the most difficult. Trying not to cause problems, bad mouth people or seeking revenge. We sometimes want to, but what is the point. It really gets us nowhere except farther in the gutter. So we hold our heads high, and do what needs to be done and know we have right on our side. That eventually we will be lifted from this mess to a better place.
I have heard grace is divine..that we are given grace when we need it most. It is available free of charge to anyone who wants it…just ask for it and there it is. And I have to say I believe this to be true. By not seeking revenge and lifting myself above the nasty stuff, I was given that grace, and apparently it was visible through me to others. It was a beacon that set an example, that helped me when I needed it most. I am not perfect and of course I was angry and upset, but grace helped me to focus on the more important things–being the bigger person, the better person as my parents would say. And having this grace really helped me to move on and realize what I needed to do next.
Some will call grace luck…maybe it is karma coming back around and rewarding you for all the good you do…maybe it is the planets aligning finally and allowing you to see the path ahead. And from grace, hope springs to help us get through another day…to want to keep going in the face of that adversity…to come out better than we had hoped!
Everything that is done in the world is done by hope. ~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr
I love these words by Dr. King. They speak volumes to me still, and I think they are especially poignant for a gardener. Every year, every season, every plant, every seed has within it so much of my hope. Hope for a wonderful crop of veggies and fruits, hope for a meadow with more natives and less invasive weeds, hope for the bluebirds and other critters trying to make a life in my garden. So much hopefulness. Every month around this time we pour out our hearts and souls wishing and hoping for lovely things in our gardens. Hanni the author of Sweet Bean Gardening hosts the Hope Grows Day meme. I love this meme because I can hope…and what a wonderful thing it is to hope, and at the same time not take it all so seriously.
As you can see the meadow is changing her colors. She is shifting from the daisy white to the beautiful yellows and oranges of rudbeckia and helianthus. The monarda, echinacea and asters will soon follow the thistle and swamp milkweed. It is a slow shift week by week with more purples and pinks joining in with the yellows. This year we are invaded by a weed that we are slowly pulling and substituting with Obedient plant and Joe Pye from the yard.
The veg garden is also shifting from the radishes and greens. The peppers have never done well in my garden, and except for the cayenne this year is no exception. There was not enough sun for them in the new round planting bed so I moved them to planting bags in the front yard on the driveway where they are being blasted by sun (top and bottom left pictures). My hope is that they recover and soon put out new shoots and flowers and bring us fruit. Right now they are looking pretty bad. Early Girl tomato is blooming her head off and my hope is to have ripe tomatoes in a few weeks (top left and top center). Eggplants (bottom left) are also slow but the beans seem to have recovered from their transplant to the large raised bed where new carrots, greens, beets and scallions are growing. Garlic will be picked soon. Pumpkins (bottom center) are still going strong, and I hope to see vines and flowers soon.
We have a few blueberries on one small bush, and the 3 new bushes I bought are being held over in the round planting bed until I can move them. All the rain did not help my raspberries this year. The area they were in was very wet and the raspberry canes from last year moved a bit, and many did not come back. They are barely a foot tall and I do not hold much hope for them. I will amend the area and move them around this fall.
Today in the United States we are celebrating our 235th birthday. We are still a young country compared to many in the world; still finding our way. On this 4th of July, I am hopeful that we can live up to the ideals of our forefathers whose words are echoed in Robert Kennedy’s words at the beginning of this post. My hope for America and the world is that we can move to be more of a model of grace; that we can spread kindness, good will and peace.
As in nature, as in art, so in grace; it is rough treatment that gives souls, as well as stones, their luster.
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