Confession time: I am a terrible gardener.
That is not to say I don’t love plants and flowers– because I do. I love the idea of having produce and flowers at my fingertips year round– and I love a little trip to Lowe’s garden center as much as anyone… but that is usually as far as it goes. I forget my plants. I neglect to water them. I love them and take photos of them to plaster on Instagram like any mother earth would– and then I completely forget they even exist.
It’s Lorelai Gilmore and Skippy the Hamster all over again.
Until the plants die, and then I’m crushed and I curse the Georgia clay and the beautiful shade-producing trees in our backyard and then my sweet husband reminds me that they lived a half life of being dehydrated most of the time. Oops.
So this year I purposed to be different, starting with the hydrangeas in our front yard. So much so that I pinned thoughts on taking care of them. Quickly learning I needed to “winterize” them by pruning before the buds came in, I marched outside armed with my pruning shears and big fat plans to get them ready for spring. (Spoiler alert, hydrangeas have to be pruned way before winter is nearly over, so if you’re reaching for your own pruning shears– I have to break it to you– we both missed the boat this year.)
As I approached my brown, spindly dead-looking hydrangeas, I was completely startled to see them bearing new buds. In a yard full of dry, dormant plants, and without any help from me– they were pushing forward to the next thing. These tiny buds of spring were startling to me and I thought about them for several days. Even now, they remind me that not only is Spring coming– and we can’t stop it even if we try.
New growth comes after these seasons of quiet, of rest, of space where it seems nothing is happening for crying out loud.
And though I know I need rest, I want specific rest. I want rest in my way, in the manner and form that I think I need it. So often I think of rest as something I willingly choose and enjoy with a good book or a pedicure.
But sometimes rest is exactly the opposite of desirable.
Sometimes rest is that which puts us in a place that feels ten steps back.
Two weeks ago, I had the amazing honor of speaking to a group of women on the topic of rest, margin and whitespace. I told them something along the lines of, “Beware of not allowing yourself to rest– God knows you need it, and He just might give it to you.”
And then. Two days later I sat in an Orthopedist’s office as he gave me this:
And I pitched a royal fit. Not in his office because well, I have some decorum.
But after, and I’m somewhat ashamed to say that every day since then I’ve asked the question with all the whine of a petulant child, “REALLY? Why now?”
Clearly, I don’t mind slowing down on my terms. Every afternoon around 2:30 I slow down with coffee and words. Each night around 10PM I slow down with Wild Orange Oil and a fluffy pillow. But slow down in such a way that makes me miss my favorite form of exercise for six weeks and leaves me hobbling eight steps behind my children like a frustrated female version of Downton Abbey’s John Bates? No, thank you.
Le Sigh. But there is a purpose to this “rest time” and as much as I come into it kicking and screaming, I certainly do not wish to waste it.
If the budding Hydrangeas have taught me nothing else… I know that the quiet should not be underestimated– for growth is happening under the surface.
And that things happen when we embrace the rest. Embrace the empty-spaces. Embrace the time where it appears nothing is happening.
And even though this lesson is one I have been learning way back when it was still last year,
I am choosing again, anew, to respect the process and soak it all in.
What process are you soaking in today? Would love your thoughts. <3