I have a confession to make, I have written three columns over the past week. All three have been pretty melancholy and mushy. I don’t know if it’s the time of year, as I watch my students and my children end this chapter in their lives. I don’t know if it’s the tragic loss our community has experienced this week. Maybe it is the season in our lives which has been full of uncertainty, and upheaval with a little chaos thrown in for good measure.
I recently tried creating a keyhole garden, which turned out to be a colossal failure. It was quickly renamed my Jericho garden, because as you may have guessed, the walls came tumbling down, again and again. No army marching or shofar blowing needed, they seemed to tumble without provocation or divine intervention. And as the walls came tumbling down, it became apparent that the Jericho garden was the perfect metaphor for our lives right now.
What should have been a round garden is nothing more than a quadrilateral with crooked walls and not a right angle to be found. It’s not even a regular quadrilateral, it is a trapezium with no parallel sides. My vision of a perfect garden and my vision of a perfect life both shattered. But also just like our life, it got rebuilt. They are both unrecognizable, but still standing.
Apparently, I learn my masonry skills like I learn my life lessons, so it all had to crash and burn before I was ready to adjust my expectations. The walls came tumbling down (and honestly still need daily repair) without divine intervention, but they certainly were rebuilt with it. Thank goodness I was not left to my own devices with the garden or my life. Our support system of family, friends, and faith has rescued us and our garden.
Today my little garden has five tiny tomatoes, and my egg plants and peppers are blooming too. They don’t seem to mind the cracks in the walls, and their occasional propensity to fall down. Things are broken, life is messy, but it is oh so good too. My hope for our lives and our Jericho garden is that out of the destruction we will bear much fruit. It will come from a garden and a life that is misshapen and imperfect, but built from love.
Jennifer Miller is a wife, mother, professor and generally in over her head. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.