Thursday, May 29, 2014

Pinching Back the Petunias

Watchword for the week of June 1, 2014:

 Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5: 7

With coffee in hand and laptop tucked under my arm, I head to the front porch to take up residency this morning. The Boston ferns and thriving white impatiens offer an inspiring backdrop, the patio furniture a comfortable workspace. But before I can get down to writing, I must attend to an unsightly distraction. I have to pinch back the petunias.

They’re of a variety I’ve not seen before—petite, lemony flowers just a fraction of the size of the standard purple trumpets I often pot up in hanging baskets. These otherwise cheerful sprays are blemished with the shriveled brown vestiges of blossoms that have already peaked and withered. I deadhead the spent blooms, working my fingers through the foliage and judiciously plucking away the decay. I preen the plants not just because it helps them to look better in this moment, but because removing the debris encourages them to produce new growth, to set forth future cascading clusters of yellow beauty.

As I groom the containers, I ponder the Watchword, and before long, I am imagining that each depleted posy is one of my worries—one of the sad, sundried anxieties that cling to me, and that must be removed if I am going to be my best today and flourish tomorrow. Garden variety concerns: how to pay for the unanticipated car repair; how to lower my triglyceride numbers; where is my kid and how come he hasn’t answered my text; how will I ever accomplish what’s on my to-do list, much less my Bucket List; why did I let those angry words slip and how will I fix the situation…. These sorts of things that keep me awake at night are what need to be tossed on the compost pile. And so, I fire off a prayer, and before I know it, I am imagining that God is wearing gardening gloves and is caring for me by gingerly culling what is waste from what is life.

Ah, that’s much better. 

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