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Despite the Odds...I Plant.

My husband wasn't happy with me. Because I dared do it --again. I planted three baby tomatoes.

He thought I was done trying. For years, every spring I would spade the garden, mix the black manure, mushroom compost, and garden soil, then plant. Nearly every morning I would go outside and check on my babies and see how they were doing.

We suffered from rabbits, so I built a fence. Deer, so I built it higher. Cutworms and green caterpillars. Mildew. Year after year, I kept trying something new. To scare things away, I strategically placed garden pinwheels, thinking the motion would scare the animals. For the pests, I planted marigolds, rosemary and the like. I kept a tight watering schedule.

It seemed just as they were beginning to bear good fruit, I would go out to water on a summer’s morning, to find my plants destroyed from some form of nature.

About five years ago, I told my husband I plum gave up.

“Good!” My dear exclaimed. “We’re now done with $50 tomato’s!”

But something happened to me this spring. I was at the garden store, and I saw those precious, little nightshade plants. Early Girl, Better Boy, Celebrity. With nostalgia, I yearned for them. Not simply the homegrown fruit at the end, but the process of tenderly pruning away the bottom leaves, carefully digging a hole, then placing the seedling deep into the dirt. I recalled the feeling of eagerly watching my babies thrive, observing each day the miraculous growth and change. First that tiny yellow bud, then the flower, then waiting for that green fruit to turn red.

I looked up at my husband, my fingernails deep into the dirt, a carpenter bee buzzing at my head.

“Don’t say a word,” I said.

“Oh, I know better,” he said as he turned away and walked inside.

I thought of the day. The best man at my daughter's wedding had passed away in the early hours of the morning from cancer. He was too young, not yet thirty. He was good to the bone. Happy, caring, sensitive. A son. A fiancé, a brother. A man’s best friend.

In the midst of this loss, that wasn’t even my direct loss, I felt despair. How could this have happened? It wasn’t fair. It’s not the correct order of things. Where was God in all of this?

And so, today I planted. I will go out each morning and watch for burgeoning and continuing life and transformation. I know, I may go out some morning to see my plants taken by pests or disease. I understand this completely.

But no matter what happens in my garden, I will think of this young man. Seeing his happy smile in the wedding pictures, thinking of his speech at the banquet hall, and remembering the fruit and goodness he left behind, I will remember him with fondness.

Living, it’s risky business. We can plant, sow, love and tend. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.

My husband didn’t ask me why I decided to plant a garden this year. But if he does, I will tell him.

It’s the same reason I will go to church Easter Sunday and sing praise to the Risen Jesus. It’s why I believe this young man is now at peace and desire his loved ones to continue living on in joy, without him in this world.

I planted because I hope for goodness, growth and transformation.

Happy Living, y'all.

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