Hope Was Restored When I Found This…

There is a large garden bed in my yard that I’ve neglected for 2 years. I haven’t had the time to spend on gardening that I used to. And this bed is BIG. Filled with shrubs and flowers.

(c) Kathleen Thompson

(c) Kathleen Thompson

And weeds.

I hired someone to maintain my yard, and he has been chipping away at my long list. He’s trimmed overgrown bushes and cleared out one spot quite well. But he has other customers too, and can’t spend all of his time in my yard.

The other day was absolutely gorgeous. I decided to give myself a break and go outside and play and in the garden. I did some weeding and trimming around the patio where I see when I look out the window. I trimmed a tree hanging too low over the patio so I could sit at the table. I pulled weeds growing between the bricks. Then I looked at that garden bed and sighed.

It Looked Hopeless

Even after the work Nick had done, it looked like a jungle. There were pricker bushes and other nasty vines everywhere – wound around and choking the bushes. And there were huge weed-type fern spread all over, stunting the good plants’ growth.

So many plants had died from the harsh winter, too. All the rose bushes, and several other plants that had thrived for years, were dead. It was a sorry mess.

I Tried Anyway

I started tackling it anyway, and tried not to look at just how bad it was. How big it was. I tried to focus only on what I was doing and celebrate each nasty vine I removed as a triumph over the dark forces of the garden world. Even with that, it still felt pretty impossible. There was so much of a mess just in the one spot I was working in that I couldn’t imagine how long it might take to clean it up. My heart sank as I found the dead or stunted plants underneath the weed jungle.

Somehow I kept going – perhaps out of sheer determination or maybe it became a personal vendetta: Woman vs. Weeds – The Battle For Survival. Even as I kept going, I felt so discouraged. Like it was too little too late.

I began attacking the ferns. Though there were tons of those, they were easier to pull up. As I cleared them out, I found about 5 astilbe underneath the fern cover. Somehow they had survived the horrific winter and my 2 years of neglect and were blooming!

Astilbe (c) Kathleen Thompson

Astilbe (c) Kathleen Thompson

What I Found That Inspired Hope

All that time I had been working and feeling hopeless and those beautiful lacy flowers were blooming just beneath the surface.

You can bet that I worked with more hope and energy after that discovery. That’s all it took to completely change my outlook.

The work hadn’t changed. The problem hadn’t gotten smaller. My garden didn’t suddenly transform into a showpiece. Much of it looked like a sorry mess, and still does.

(c) Kathleen Thompson

(c) Kathleen Thompson

But finding those astilbe gave me the spark I needed to keep going. They gave me hope.

Beauty Often Hides Amid the Mess

So often the beauty is there, just below the surface. Hidden by what looks like a hopeless mess. Sometimes we have to go to work in that mess – trimming and clipping and digging – believing by faith that the beauty is in there, even as it feels like a lost cause. Even though all we can see is the mess.

And then beauty surprises us and renews our hope – keeps us going. We keep working our way through the weeds and the tangles to bring out the beauty that is waiting to be found and nurtured.

How can we find hope in the hopeless? Beauty in the ugliness?

  1. Believe it is there
  2. Use the right tools
  3. Wear protective clothing
  4. Work at it
  5. Appreciate small blessings

There may not be an astilbe underneath your weeds, but there is something beautiful. Even if it’s just the beautiful bare earth. Believe. Look. Dig. And be grateful when you find a spark of hope to keep you going.

If you know someone who could use this message today, why don’t you share it with them? Click one of the social media buttons or forward via e-mail. Send a package of hope to brighten their day.

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  • Brenda Patterson

    Kathleen, this is definitely inspiring for someone who has no faith in what looks hopeless. Not just the garden, but a valuable metaphor for life. Thanks! Brenda