In the gentle rain of yesterday, I was in my sister’s cottage garden. Laughing at ourselves for still playing in the mud at our age, we were digging up Fever Few, Larkspur and French Hollyhocks. And in this morning’s soft mist, still dressed in my jammies and robe, I was out puttering in my own cottage garden, planting flowers — those from my sister’s as well as some delphinium bedding plants I grew from seed — and preparing other plants to give away to my sister and others. Give and take is a way of life in the gardening world.
Before my sister called Sunday morning, I had planned to go set up the Master Gardener’s plant sale and take advantage of early bird shopping. It’s the club’s biggest fundraiser of the year and the plants sold by gardeners are always different from what can be bought at local garden centers. But when I heard from Christi that Daddy was not having a good week, I decided plant sales could wait. This too was a form of give and take.
Of course, life is the biggest give and take of them all. The Bible compares mortals to the flowers of the field that flourish until the wind passes over them and then they are gone. And the place knows them no more. This last part always breaks my heart, as I know just how true it is. Until a few months ago, I didn’t even know my Granny’s mother’s name. And there are only a few left in the world who still do. As Job said himself, ” The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away.”
In many respects, dementia has already taken much of Daddy away. But I am thankful Daddy still knows us when we walk through the door even though he can’t keep track of our comings and goings. Real sweetly yesterday, in what’s left of his whispery voice, he struggled to ask me “Where did Christi go?” With a gardener’s patience, I told him that Christi was at work, and reminded him of her work schedule. Rather than shaking his head in acknowledgement, my response left Daddy a little confused. Only a month ago, daddy knew this. So is this too give and take?
Today I was able to shop the dregs of the plant sale, picking up a few plants for my sister’s garden and mine. I was also able to find a home for my remaining tomato seedlings that have grown strong and tall with the help of the Oklahoma wind. I’m tickled my friend Wanda took the tomato plants and I know Christi will be happy to take in a few new plants as well. Gardeners are happy no matter whether its give or take.
Not so with the taking of human beings. But perhaps I’ll take comfort else where. I now recall one Gospel’s reurrection account where Mary Magdalene confused the risen Jesus with a gardener. I like to think Mary wasn’t confused at all, just as I like to think that Jesus is the true master gardener, as he transplants people from one garden to the next. After all, give and take is a way of life in the gardening world.