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Monday, March 21, 2016

ALONE IN THE GARDEN

I went alone to Sarah Duke Gardens, transported as much by eager anticipation as the borrowed car I drove.

Fond memories of other gardens beckoned me to appreciate again the floral gifts of spring. The Dallas Arboretum, Queen Elizabeth Park and countless other gardens in the States and across the sea—all the gardens George and I had enjoyed together—coalesced into a kaleidoscope of reminiscing that drew me forward. I parked the car and nearly sprinted in my eagerness to revisit such delight.

Seemingly without warning, internal alarms sounded and drowned out the sylvan sounds of wind-tickled leaves. Fresh-scabbed wounds broke open on my slowly healing heart; fresh blisters formed on my sandal-shod feet. Both my soul and soles were ill prepared for a solitary trek along a garden path. Band-Aids sufficed for my feet, but I found scant remedy for my soul.

I plodded along, salty tears carving channels down my sun-screened face. I pondered what there is about a garden that makes it better shared. Would Eden’s story have ended differently if Eve and Adam had explored Eden together, more like George and me?

Then I remembered Jesus—alone in Gethsemane’s garden, abandoned by his would-be companions who drifted away in sorrow-filled sleep. Still he persisted in his solitary vigil, blood oozing in agony from his every pore. Alone with his Father, he questioned and wrestled until his heart came to rest.

I left the garden as I found it, full of blossoms and budding trees. I left its quiet stillness and the buzzing of the bees. As I retreated, my back turned from its beauty, I carried with me the treasure my heart discovered there. It was the simple truth,  Not my will, but Yours be done.