I have a rock in my garden. To be honest it is the only thing I contributed to the wonderful collection of perennials and annuals which fill the landscaped areas of my yard. The previous owners of our home invested a lot of love and time into gardening efforts. I am forever grateful and am quick to give credit to them when someone comments on anything that is growing in my yard. Every year and each new season I watch and wait to see what will push up from the earth. By now I know I can expect daffodils and tulips to flourish in the spring filling every open space among the mulch piled below the trees. Roses will attempt to blossom before the June Bugs eat them up and a purple Clematis will wind its way through my porch rails to display rather fragile petals. Azaleas and dogwood trees will inevitably show their recognizable blooms in the early spring and summer, while some sort of ground cover will fill in any open space around the flowerbed in the yard.
When we moved into the house I had plans to contribute to the work already begun by the previous owners. I went to the garden center that first spring day fully intent on purchasing a few more flowers for the yard. Ultimately, though not too surprisingly, I got a bit off task. I found myself looking at bird baths and yard décor instead. Somehow, and even I am not sure why, I ended up purchasing a rock. It was one of those “so ugly it’s cute” sort of rocks. The man made rock contained the image of a squinting or squished face. Truly I can’t recall why I thought this was a necessary purchase, but purchase I did. I do recall being pleased with myself as I in placed the unsightly thing in the middle edge of our flowerbed. I tend to forget it is even there and sometimes find myself startled by the absurd image staring out from under the overgrown foliage.
One of the nice things about this early rock purchase is that, unlike so many of my other yard & garden endeavors, it has always stayed the same. I have not, nor will I be able to, cause its downfall. I cannot over water it, undernourish it or over prune it to an early death. Seasons change and so does my garden. In the fall the green plants pull back into the earth and nearby trees shed a thick blanket of dead leaves over them. The rock remains unmoved or changed. By wintertime the flowerbeds resemble barren land, what has not been pinned down by autumn leaves soon falls under the weight of layers of snow. The rock remains unmoved or changed. As spring arrives, bright green leaves unfold from every branch of each tree, and colorful blooms dot the once grey landscape. The rock remains unmoved or changed. By summertime the garden is full and flowing with green plants and few blooms. Some plants will suffer neglect and fail to experience the entirety of the season. The rock remains unmoved or changed.
I thought of this rock the other day when I began work on a poem I intend to write for a friend. Through everything, the ups and downs, this friend has been like a rock in my garden. I know that no matter how things around me change, she will remain. I know she will share in my celebrations and comfort me in times of need. I know that, unlike so many other things in my garden of life, I cannot neglect her because she requires nothing of me except my friendship and love. She is an earthly example of the rock God is in our gardens of life. The world around us may at times be conducive to wonderful blooms and beauty in our lives, but sometimes the world is inhospitable. Some seasons find us pinned down or weakened, while others require waiting for optimal conditions. But no matter what season of life we find ourselves in, God is unmoved or unchanged…a rock in our garden. Just like the rock in my garden, we tend to forget He is there. I pray we all find ourselves pleasantly startled today by the realization that no matter how lush or barren your garden is this day He remains unmoved or changed.
“I love Thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer. My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold”( Psalm 18:1-2)