Grace

Clematis Huvi-PhotoArtista

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:

  1. elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action.
  2. a pleasing or attractive quality or endowment.
  3. 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.

Drumstick allium

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.

Thomas Guthrie

 

July Hope for Ripe Tomatoes

 



Special Note: Come visit Fertilizer Friday at Tootsie Time this week.  Monthly (usually around the 10th) I guest blog at Walkabout Chronicles.

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All content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

 

 

40 comments

  1. Karin/Southern Meadows says:

    What a thoughtful and inspiring post! “grace” is truly a beautiful thing and often not the easiest road to take. Our tomatoes are not doing well but we did have a great crop of blueberries and raspberries. Isn’t it amazing how the weather has such an impact on our harvest despite all we do. (my post will be up tomorrow). Hope you have a splendid Independence Day!

    • Donna says:

      Karin thx for your kind words…I am amazed at how the weather affects our gardens despite our desire to manage it or thinking we can manage it…Looking forward to your post…hoping for a turn a round for your tomatoes! Happy 4th…

    • Donna says:

      Carolyn, I think has taken a year for me to not think so much about it either..a good time to reflect on it…I am finding that when presented with grace, I am learning to look on it as a wondrous gift…even though the lesson that comes with it may be hard…usually one I need reminding of…thx!!

    • Donna says:

      Thx Alistair…this upstart fairly young country can learn so much from her neighbors and friends….as can this author it appears…

    • Donna says:

      Diana I often use that phrase, “there, but by the grace of God go I” It steadies me and helps me to see that in the bigger picture of life there can be far worse things…I am alive, I have friends and a good life and I am grateful for all of it…thank you for reminding me about this wondrous gift of grace!!

  2. The Sage Butterfly says:

    Someone once described that quality in me during the divorce from my first husband. I, too, did not feel as if I behaved in any particular way except to try to work through the divorce with as much harmony as possible. Now having identified that quality, it is easier to rely on it when necessary. I am also hopeful that we can find that grace more often when dealing with each other. Your post, your flowers, and your garden are lovely. Happy 4th!

    • Donna says:

      Michelle thank you and I am glad you enjoyed the post…it is helpful to rely on grace in the grace of adversity..hoping your 4th was wonderful as well…

  3. b-a-g says:

    Donna – I knew you were graceful before reading this post.
    Amazing how quickly your meadow has turned around, hope to see more photos of it.
    Good luck with your tomatoes!

  4. Shyrlene says:

    Donna – What a wonderful post! You are eloquent and gifted. Anyone who doesn’t appreciate your talent is foolish – their loss (big loss).

  5. PlantPostings says:

    Thanks for your great example, Donna. I will try to live up to it as I face difficult situations. This post (like many of yours) is full of more than just gardening tips. The life lessons are much appreciated.

    • Donna says:

      I am so glad you enjoy all aspects of the post…I am never quite sure if they have too much of life or not enough garden…it appears I struck a good balance and am happy the post spoke to you!!

  6. Sheila says:

    I like what you say about grace and hope. To me, grace is not luck or even a personal quality but a gift from God. The garden is almost always a source of hope for me … I like your meadow 🙂

    • Donna says:

      Sheila I agree it is not part of your personality or luck but such a special gift bestowed on us when we need it most!!

  7. Jean says:

    Donna, This is a wonderful reflection on the meaning of grace, and I particularly appreciate the way you have linked it to hope. The hope that the future will be better if we just let go of the pain and move forward has got to be part of what makes the grace to rise above it possible. Thanks for this.

    • Donna says:

      Jean I do learn so much from readers and friends and your perspective is so appreciated…we surely must hope in a better future or we could never move forward..thx for that reminder that I shall use when the pain may be just a bit much to bear on some days!! 🙂

  8. Donna says:

    Beautifully written and truly inspiring. I too believe hope and grace go hand in hand as you so eloquently said in your example. Grace under fire is what it sounded like you endured.

    • Donna says:

      Thx Donna…yes grace under extreme fire for a number of years actually…that abuse cycle we think we have identified and mastered in our lives that crops up in the most unlikely places…so glad you enjoyed the post!!

  9. catmint says:

    I suppose gardening in its nature is about hope in the future. If we didn’t believe our efforts would make a difference we wouldn’t be motivated, let alone obsessively enthusiastic. One of my favourite shrubs is the smoke bush, Cotinus ‘Grace’. I kept thinking about it as I read this terrific post.

    • Donna says:

      Oh your comment made me smile…the garden is definitely my hope for the future…I can always try again or start over and it will still bring me joy…I love how you thought of this wonderful shrub as you read the post….

  10. thevioletfern says:

    You definitely have grace as obvious as this post. Your garden has been graced as well! Just beautiful. Gardening is always about hope and maybe why I love it so. It inspires me much like your words. Those tomatoes are looking real good. I hope karma is graciously kind to you.

    • Donna says:

      Oh thank you for that wonderful thought regarding karma….your veg garden inspires me so much…my garden continues to grow through good and bad as I have grown too…always hoping for something wonderful to appear…

  11. Greggo says:

    grace is Gods unmerited favor. think about that one for a while. just as you treated those people with favor, God has treated us the same. with grace. unmerited but still given. awesome…

  12. Cat says:

    I second greggo’s comment…unmerited favor from God. He sets the example and we are to follow. Well done Donna!

  13. Janet/Plantaliscious says:

    I love the Martin Luther quote, thank you, it is new to me, but I love the sentiment, and what you wrote about it. I also love your meadow. I had to give up on growing my peppers in their original position too, they are now in the greenhouse and looking much happier. Enjoy your ripe tomatoes in a few weeks, and congratulations on allowing the rough treatment from work to make you more gracious rather than less. I’m sure your soul is the shinier for it.

    • Donna says:

      Janet it does feel good to know we can weather storms through gifts we are given and can acknowledge…the meadow is growing brighter daily and I love to watch its transformation…I am worried about my peppers. I am moving them again since they appear worse in the very hot sunny location. I hope they are OK on the patio and can flower. My fear is they will make the sweet peppers hot, but maybe I can move them closer to the veg beds. I just hope I can keep them alive.

  14. Aimee says:

    Thanks for the wonderful reminder, Donna! To live graciously – in all parts of our life – is certainly something to aspire to and work toward.

    Your meadow looks lovely! (and very graceful!) and it appears that your hopes for your tomatoes will come true – looking good!

  15. Pam's English Garden says:

    Dear Donna, I love this thought-provoking post. I so agree with your paragraph that starts “I think it really is about letting go…” I try not to bad mouth people or seek revenge, believing having grace to be a wonderful aspiration. You have achieved it. P. x
    Great photos.

    • Donna says:

      Pam, thank you so much and I am so glad you loved the post…it was one of those aha moments looking back on a not so pleasant situation…

  16. Cathy says:

    Donna, such a very, very inspiring post. In the past several years we have been through a very difficult time and through the worst of it, my husband would describe me as having grace under extreme pressure. I think you’ve lived that same kind of nightmare! Congratulations for being able to take the high road and hold your head high. You set the bar and it will be a tough act to follow for your professional competitors.

    • Donna says:

      Cathy thank you for these wonderful words and your good thoughts…sorry to hear that you too have had a rough time…I suppose we all have our tough times in life…it is what we do with them and how we handle the tough times that really matters 🙂

  17. Liane says:

    The connections you make between life and gardening always inspire, make me smile, cause me to reflect.

    I was there with during that difficult time and observed how you handled it. You certainly demonstrated grace and beauty in the face of such unprofessional behavior. It speaks volumes about who you are, my friend. And look where you are now in terms of happiness and personal growth! You have far surpassed those who were hurtful.

    You escaped a weed ridden place and are flowering in better soil!! 🙂

    • Donna says:

      I love it…you made me laugh and smile…definitely out of the weeds and cultivating a better life in rich, fertile soil!!!

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