What a mess! The autumn dream of a picturesque rock garden perched on the bank outside the back of my little rental had morphed into a tropical like mini rain forest. Record rain levels and my two week absence allowed millions of vine-like weeds to crawl up zinnia stalks in layers. Crab grass with their amazing underground root system took over other areas. Japanese beetles created lacy patterns on zinnia leaves and other insects poked holes in the sweet potato vines. Somewhere in this mess and chaos there were flowers — I could see them. Yellow daisy like flowers with a name I forgot– and now I know why people keep those tags– purple alyssum, red purslane, stone crop, …. Oh yes — verbena of different colors still hanging on and some even thriving in the damp soil. The placement of leftover stones from a house construction — those interesting flat ones used for the sides of houses to give the appearance of whole ones– kept the ground somewhat in place. Yet some of the plants were clearly sliding a bit down the hill.
Plants and flowers were not in an orderly fashion with that perfect amount and ratio of mulch about them I’ve seen in other yards. Colors, widths and heights of plants (now I know why they also have that information on those tags) were obviously not thought through — with giant zinnias blocking the flowers behind or plants crowding into others as they struggle for light, space and fight gravity.
Yet… in the green there were spurts of color.
In the tangle of weeds and insects, there was beauty.
There was hope.
Somewhere and somehow life and hope could thrive in the midst of messes and chaos and, yes, even in the loss of dreams and unfulfilled expectations.
This was not the rock garden dream I had in the autumn.
But here now in the summer there was beauty and a challenge and a hope …. And new dreams.
A year ago I came back to Lancaster County, PA after 30+ years overseas working and living in China. I knew re-entry transition would be very hard, and it still is difficult. Life has been hard. It has not fitted in boxes, lists, steps, expectations. It has been really messy at times and not neat and packaged at all.
But I do believe that God is somehow in control of everything. And also He’s involved in and with my life even though I can’t always see it or figure it out. And at times I do question what He’s doing — it just looks too messy or chaotic to see any good or beauty or purpose.
So, when I pull the weeds and see more of my flowers and even am insane to buy some more and wonder how they fit in or even if they’ll slide off the bank, I see beauty, hope and my soul smiles. I dream of what flowers may come back next year (I forget which are the annuals and perennials) and even though it may turn out messy again … there will be beauty.
Summer reality with the weeds, insects and flowers may allow for autumn dreams again and then new adventures and journeys in the months to come.