Organic materials change over time.
We are, most certainly, in that category as human beings; we change over time; we are all time travelers:
Sometimes our culture judges these changes as beautiful and that we say, they say get better with time: wine, cheese... a garden, a patina ...and maybe even a life.
Weeds get in the way
I was perhaps eight, when I waged my very first argument to protect a beautiful, micro flower from the gratuitous judgment of "That? That is just a weed."
What is a weed? It is something that does not fit in a garden and in some way is unpleasant or deadly.
I see fully formed weeds in the lives of individuals and families in hospice. It is like a sped up timelapse. The weed seeds imbedded in our thoughts have matured to invasive weeds and overtaken the gardens of their lives. Other seeds are such kindly demonstrations of love and lives well lived, that it feeds me...just being there.
It is not the quantity of people surrounding the people passing, that is up to fate. But I see the beauty of their mind-gardens. They are still using it all, accepting it all and delighting in who shows up. They have ceased the hard work of weeding out the unpleasant, because they have discovered that in a balanced garden, the growth of the good pushes out the weeds . Over the course of their lives, they have learned to focus on the good, the beautiful, the blessings and allow those to grow. They have allowed themselves to be loved.
For the most part, it has become a self-weeding garden. The growth of the good, is the pruning.
Memory is a Self-weeding, self seeding garden.
What and how I choose to remember – makes a difference in my life now.
Alice Sommer Hertz is an optimist; her twin sister died decades ago; she was the pessimist which usually translates to a reduction in life by 14 years according to recent studies.
Her garden is self-seeding. I want mine to be too.
As a chaplain in healthcare, we give a great deal of consideration to how we enter a room.
The way you enter says a great deal about who you are and how you will be received. It is the first sense you give of what you are about.
The same is true of a physical space: a house.
How an entry is situated, shapes the experience and says a great deal about the inhabitants ...or it could. It is not just the improved real estate value that an investment in "curb appeal" affects, it is the pleasure that the dwellers receive each and every time they enter their own home.
It welcomes them and can offer a sense of arrival and welcome.
This is a contemplative space, too.
With my chaplain "hat" on, I am moved by any effort of a community to remember...
There might be better funded efforts assisted by famous designers doing good. But the small heartfelt efforts with little more to work with than a left-over side lot of weeds, volunteers and some scrappy Michiganders are what it is all about. Like a recent effort where a new memorial garden was dedicated for veterans - here and gone.
These folks showed up with heart and used what they had to make space sacred. Every time they pass those signs, or flowers or weeds they will remember that they stood up and said to the world that their loved ones mattered and what they went through did too.
There is no greater gift than to remember love: their love and ours. It helps us who remain, inform the time we have left to live.
Mason-based Heartland Hospice and volunteers from Eaton Rapids High School on the grounds of Dansville Country Care, Photo Matthew Dae Smith 7/2014; www.LSJ.com
In parallel, however...my landscape architect "hat", would recommend planting something enduring. A simple grove of evergreen trees might ground and tether their memories to this place to hold the sacredness past their own dedication and presence there.
“The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”- Anonymous.
But they did good, even without a pro to help.
What makes space sacred for you?
Making San Francisco Bay Area native, edible & water thrifty gardens...