A Garden Could Rise

shutterstock_152242274Okay, just so you know. I overslept my jogging appointment with Dave this morning, but I went anyway. Yay for me! I ran at the speed of Chloe (my friend’s dog I’m babysitting), which is to say, she never broke into a trot, but I gasped and stumbled behind her. And it was good.

Last night I went to book group and, as usual, it felt as holy and wonderful as one of my recovery meetings, even though none of these friends are in recovery. Well, at least not from alcohol. We’re all trying to recover from that tug toward something or other, aren’t we? We’re all human and we’re all hungry and thirsty, which is I’m sure why the New Testament ends on those glorious words, “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.”

Scandalously inclusive, don’t you think? :) If you’re thirsty or hungry, come. In fact, this is our church’s statement of purpose we say aloud together almost every Sunday, “With God we will set the table for all who hunger and thirst.” Isn’t that beautiful?

It reminds me of how when I was a kid setting the table was such a huge chore, even though it involved little more than slapping some plates and sliver ware down in any random place.

Last night the issue of weight and dieting came up at the end of book group, too. Isn’t it amazing how hard it can be just to not eat a Trader Joe’s cookie? How can our will power be so weak? But it is, I’m afraid. And it kind of always will be, I’m afraid. And recovery is all about admitting this and getting over the idea that someday it will change–and letting that weakness be okay and draw us toward God’s table…

I was thinking on my jog about my readings this morning and how the truth is that I am powerless even to love myself. How can I love myself when it’s my ego that is always standing out front and waving for attention? I’m supposed to love even that?

Yep. I try and fail, irritation and annoyance almost always winning out. Maybe the truth is that what is really needed is not  me loving me but more allowing God to love me through my Soul which is already utterly convinced that I’m infinitely precious and so it’s really a matter of getting in touch with that part of me that deeply knows the truth.

My Hafiz poem for today was wonderful and it fits with some of what I’m saying:

“If you don’t watch out I just might say something
you will never forget. Then what will you do?

Those words might organize a gang inside your
mind who undertake a strategic plot, or just bully
you to make some changes in your life you have
wanted to make but could not, on your own.

A time-release capsule, my touch and sounds,
with secret instructions hidden within that can
slowly seep into the cracks your heartaches cause.

All of a sudden you might find yourself cleaning
your room more, helping old people across the
street, or giving your money away. Yes, I am

A garden could rise in barren places in you if our
eyes met…”

Yes, a garden could rise in those dry barren places in me if I was willing to meet God’s eyes and see him seeing me, and if I knew the stream was right here inside of me, where Jesus told us it was to begin with. And if a garden sprang up there, think about it. How much easier it would be to help hungry, thirsty people, much less set the table for everyone.

P.S. As you probably guessed, I’m being faithful to my hope of posting more of what I write in Raw here instead.


  1. My work life has me tied tight in a knot. I need to gather some hungry & thirsty friends and turn our eyes to God’s eyes together. I have a large chalkboard in my kitchen & a few weeks ago I wrote the line “Be Thou My Vision – Oh Lord of my heart” on it. I’ve been marinating on it. I used to think of it song as a yearning for general vision & mission in life. Now I’ve slowly been adapting it to my eyes at any given moment..looking into a face, looking at the blessings around me. As in – Be Thou my actual vision at this very moment. I’ve never read any Hafiz poems but am intrigued. Would you mind sharing the source? Thank you Heather!

  2. David J. says:

    Well we can’t have you thinking no one will bother to comment, so I’m glad Nancy and Anonymous surprised you. “A garden could rise in barren places in you if our
    eyes met…”? This grips me immediately because, man, I have the barren places. I would love to see God’s garden rise there instead. And, come to think of it, I would love for my kids to see that too, and to know that the same can be true of their barren places.

    • Oh David, you’re so kind. Thank you for your words. Men who read my blog have a special place in my heart, maybe because my husband has a few times accused me of beating them off with a stick by my choice or art or overuse of words like heart. :) Maybe a garden hasn’t risen in my barren places yet, but I think when we’re kind to each other, we water those spots and small shoots appear.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Although my personal spirituality is not church-based, I do find great meaning and encouragement in your posts! Thank you!

  4. Nancy, so great of you to comment. I figured two posts two days in a row that no one would bother. Which is fine, of course. At least, it is today. I’m having one of those days when, as I was just telling my sister, God has done me the favor of chasing my ego into the corner and giving me a chance to breathe and be free and not care a wit about anyone thinks or doesn’t. What a relief! I loved this comment SO much. I especially love your wit and the idea of growing a garden instead of a mulch pit. You are the best. Thanks for taking time for this. xo

  5. Wow, Heather, there is a lot of good stuff in this blog, and a lot of it is what I am currently dealing with as I recently realized I have become a grumpy old lady, and I don’t like myself that way. Also, it is not the way I usually react to the world. So, like you I have been seeking to grow a garden instead of a mulch pit.

    Due to some work situations which were beyond my control, I got into the habit of being irritable. Now, I am seeking to be a nice person, again, but I cannot do it myself. So I have been praying for grace to make this transformation. Big dummy that I am.

    Praying to be nicer, I have discovered, is like praying for patience. God is faithful, and when you want to be nicer is is going to provide you with plenty of opportunities that will give you the choice to snarl or smile. UGH! Just like when you want to have more patience, He gives us lots of opportunities to wait. Double UGH!

    However, I am going to continue to pray to be nicer as I love gardens and I am really tired of Mrs. Grumpy and her mulch pit.

    Love you bunches, Nancy

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