God Walks in My Garden

by Bernadine Wells

The purple dawn exhales its mystic powers and showers the crimson and pale pink rosebuds with sparkling dewdrops. As I sit on my patio and sip my second cup of coffee, the peace and tranquility envelope me and I’m aware of God’s presence. I feel as if God’s footprints are on the wet grass as the peace roses and shasta daisies smile through the early morning breezes.

Sometimes, after a stressful day at the office, all I would feel like doing was crawl into bed, close the blinds, and pull a blanket over my head. Thankfully, the garden would seem to call me, weeds brazenly popping up, daring me to come outside and get to work. Often, I was glad I took their challenge. As I pulled weeds and crawled on my hands and knees, it would feel as if a burden was being lifted from my shoulders.

My love of gardening began when I was in grade school. We lived and struggled on a farm in the middle of the ominous Dust Bowl. I was sure that if I put seeds in the ground they would turn into beautiful, bright blooms overnight. My mother used leftover chicken wire to fence in a small corner of our backyard and told me that would be my garden.

We drove to our small town and bought a few packets of petunia, marigold, and zinnia seeds for a nickel each. I wasn’t aware that pushing those tiny seeds into the soil would be the easiest part of gardening. We had no modern conveniences, so I carried buckets of water from our livestock tanks and slowly poured it over the arid soil. This had to be done each evening, in addition to pulling the stubborn weeds that insisted on popping up through the hard ground. Every morning I searched, hoping to see tiny plants pushing through. Patience had never been one of my virtues, but finally a few green sprigs appeared and I envisioned dozens of beautiful flowers.

I hadn’t planned on the severe drought, the stifling 100-plus temperatures. I became depressed, and my mother told me to say a special prayer for my garden during my nightly prayers.

“Please, God,” I whispered, “I know you’re awfully busy, but will you make it rain so my garden will grow?

The next day when a few clouds appeared, only sprinkles fell. I thought that perhaps others needed rain more than my little garden.

As the days passed, however, the few tiny sprouts became colorful zinnias and petunias. They didn’t look as lush as those in the magazine, but with my loving care and more prayers, they survived.

Now in my golden years, I often think of those dark days of the Dust Bowl. Not only my miniature garden but our very livelihood would not have survived without God’s loving hand.

Each spring, I watch for the first yellow and purple crocuses as they push their shining faces through the cold, snow-covered ground. I listen to the quiet breezes and feel the presence of God’s silent footsteps in my garden. That’s when I know that all those tulip and daffodil bulbs I planted last fall will bloom soon in my own little corner of the world.

Thomas Jefferson said, “Though an old man, I am but a young gardener,” and I’ve learned that often when things look the worst, with God’s helping hands, the future will be filled with sunshine and beauty.

Bernadine Wells is a freelance writer in Oklahoma.

 

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