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Sunday, August 3, 2008


When I told a close friend about the early delivery and sudden parting of our little girls, her advice was, "surround yourself with reminders of life."

With that advice I've spent some time outside, cultivating some plants in terrible need of attention. One day I worked on a tree - digging around the base of the tree, taking out rocks that were affecting its growth, and then adding some rich soil instead. Another day I nurtured our indoor plants, pulling off the dead leaves, and adding more good soil to each plant. 

While spending time with my hands in the dirt, I've been reminded of some important things:

1. I love the smell of soil... and I love getting my hands in it.

2. Rocks are rarely good for plants.

3. Good soil is always good for plants. 

4. If you leave your garden without planting "good" plants, then it'll most likely be overrun with "undesirable" plants, like weeds.

I know these are really basic facts to even the least experienced gardener. But, I've been struck with how they relate to my life right now. 

I've always found joy in working in our garden, whether with vegetables or flowers or other plants. But, lately digging in the dirt has also been a source of healing for me. While pulling out rocks, I find myself wondering - are there "rocks" in my life affecting my ability to grow?

And, while adding in fresh, new soil, I question - what is the nature of the soil in my heart? Am I softened enough to accept the good seeds that are being planted? Or will hardness and bitterness keep those good seeds from bringing continued growth and goodness to my life?

I have to be honest, over the last couple of weeks it has been really easy to entertain the thoughts of "why me?" and "what if..." and "if only..."  As I've chosen to push those thoughts out, I've realized that's only the first step. It isn't enough to avoid the bad thoughts, just like it isn't enough to pull out the weeds... they'll just keep coming back. The mind is like a garden, where good thoughts must be planted, so that there is no place for the unwelcome thoughts to find a home. 

So, rather than allowing those destructive questions to fill the garden of my mind, I have been focusing on planting thoughts that inspire gratitude for the blessings we've received. Right now, in these early stages, it's still a battle to push those tempting questions aside, but as we do we become more aware of and grateful for the blessings in our life... and dare I say even the blessings of this trial. 

I love the words of the Savior, in the parable of the sower (Matthew 13):

  3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; 
  4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: 
  5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: 
  6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 
  7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: 
  8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. 
  9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

I hope we always choose to have softened hearts, ready to receive the hundredfold of blessings the Lord is anxiously waiting to give.

With all these thoughts in mind we decided to plant a new rose bush in our front yard, in honor of Elliana and Emmaline. It serves as a reminder to fill the gardens of our minds with thoughts as beautiful as our peach-colored roses. And, another reminder that there really are many blessings to be found... even amongst the thorns. 


Heffalump said...

Ihave shed tears for you these last couple of weeks.
You are both an inspiration in so many ways as you continue through this time of sorrow. Some people stop when sorrow comes and they no longer make progress towards their destination. You have shown that although you grieve, you are continuing on towards your Heavenly Father and those two little angels who are waiting for you.

Amy said...

Just wanted to let you know that I'm thinking of you every day and that your posts are really inspiring. I look forward to them...they're profound and I learn something new every time.