Let’s go for a walk, I suggested to my husband after dinner. A leisurely walk through the neighborhood was unheard of before Covid. As an avid marathoner, I always asked myself, why walk when you can run? However, as I walked throughout the neighborhood I began to notice the colors of leaves, the funny yard signs, bowls of water left out for neighborhood dogs, sculptures, painted rocks,, and children on bikes. When I returned to our house, I saw our garden through fresh eyes, and it wasn’t pretty.

This photo shows the garden before we moved in and milkweed, poison ivy and grass began taking over.  Stringy day lilies never bloomed, old trees were bungee corded up, bushes chomped to twigs by the deer. Neglected and under-watered, the garden was like a metaphor for an over-committed pre-Covid life. How could I expect anything to bloom? I had no idea how to plant a productive garden, but I knew I had to rip out everything the previous owner had dreamed of because that was her dream, and obviously she had more time on her hands. I called an artistic landscaper in who knew what would survive the deer and Michigan winters, but not take over the yard like poison ivy.
Her map fascinated me and gave me a sense of balance and control. They say a dream is just a dream until you write it down, so I hung it on the fridge. When arms became numb from pulling weeds, I kept telling myself”God’s helping me live my dream!” Apparently, I wasn’t the only person who had a landscape dream during Covid. The landscapers were booked! I had to wait a month before they put the flowers in.

Garden Dream Covid Purse

I would still rather be painting or running than gardening. However, as I was gardening, I thought about how Jesus used agricultural parables all the time because nature is such a great visual representation of spiritual truth. For instance, roots. If I cut off the top of my milkweed plant, it would disappear for a week, but I would find three more milkweed plants sprout nearby. Sometimes I try to solve bad habits like overeating or racism with quick fixes, but they are rooted in deeply held spiritual lies I must dig out if we really want something healthy to grow. I get these heavy thoughts digging in the dirt because I’m an artist.
Jesus even explained the problem of evil in the world and even the church with plants in Matthew 13. The Master of the garden plants good plants, but the enemy sows weeds doesn’t rip out the weeds because it would uproot the wheat. among the wheat. The master He will separate the good and evil at harvest time.

The Kingdom of Heaven and the Problem of Evil

When the landscapers were finally able to come, they taught me how important it is to establish roots. In the past, I would just shove a plant in a hole and call it good. They sprinkled special root growth pellets and told us to water frequently. Good roots are like hidden gold apparently.

Golden Roots Covid Purse

My Garden Now

I created a Covid purse of roots to remind myself that I carry my roots with me wherever I go. Some roots will bless others, like the way I was brought up to value education and hard work. Some roots like the root of divorce and the cycle of poverty I have had to weed out so that healthy habits can grow. Throughout this Covid time I have asked God to prune me of any habits that aren’t fruitful and to help me establish ones I can maintain. So far I have been enjoying my evening walks and watering the garden, but I am still trying to weed out my recent addiction to watching the news. I hope to plant some prayer there instead.

Roots Covid Purse