I want to write about the garden right now, about the glory of a garden when summer settles in to stay. I want to advise you that if you belong to young children, and you want to grow produce, ALWAYS GROW PEAS (and cherry tomatoes, duh). Peas grow quickly and early, which excites youngsters after a winter indoors. And (you may put this on my grave stone) shelling a pea pod is the single best child’s chore of all time. Not only an outdoor activity (GET OUT OF THE HOUSE), but one that encourages the sneaking of vitamin-packed pearls. Did you know that legumes also enrich soil with nitrogen? Planting peas actually builds a better ecosystem.
But I can’t write about the numerous benefits of pea farming.
Because I hurt. Oh how I wish I could ignore the throbbing up and down my legs. I’ve learned though, that if I don’t honor my pain (physical or any other type) then it grows angrier and more afraid. It hurts me more. If I am courageous enough to step into it, to touch the achy, zingy, zappy, heavy, hard-to-move parts, then the fog lifts and Light can break through. So I’ll write about pain.
Narcotics used to help. Oxycodone isn’t a luxury I can afford anymore. Meditation is free of charge, though, and it actually works.
Once upon a time Adderall pushed me through the fatigue caused by the pain, discomfort, and opiates. Except, I became an angrier Donald Trump when doctors added uppers to the daily drug cocktail. When the pain (and stimulants) rattled my mind’s door in the night, stealing much-needed rejuvenation, I had Ambien.
I won’t be a slave to my pain, my limitations! Instead I became a slave to my meds.
Not anymore, because I cherish the body-temple God gifted me. A Good Gardener once breathed into the clay that became Claire. So I touch it, and I breathe God’s breath. And I cry. Sometimes I yell, often I yell, when it gets bad.
Do you know who else hurts? Everyone. Do you know who else begs for the kind of Love CPR only God can give? Everyone. Especially my sisters and brothers in impoverished regions. Their feet throb, and their backs pinch. Her veins zap, and his bones feel heavy and hot. Only, they don’t have a chiropractor who snaps things back into place. I’m not sure how many meditation-teaching family and addiction therapists exist in the slums of Kolkata. Over-worked Indonesians don’t have a masseuse to break apart their scar tissue after a shitty day, or the luxury of a Tempur-pedic to settle into for the night.
The Fall (separation) hurts. It heaves me headfirst into depths of places I pretend don’t exist, fastening me up alongside my aching comrades, whose lives aren’t as picturesque as mine. I’m not a twenty-eight-year-old, upper class, American, white girl when crippling muscle pain and stiffness keep me hunched over my bed in the mornings. No, I am every woman when even the air feels too heavy on my broad, sure shoulders. And what a blessing.
Privilege + Pain = Poverty. You want to understand and alleviate the plight of the needy? You must first understand your own broken bits; find their pain inside your own. That’s where humanity begins and ends.
My pain is a call to action, a call to prayer, and a call to breathe. So is yours.
Most of pieces of my life fit neatly together, finally. It often looks like (and actually is) a little mini Eden here on Earth. Maybe that’s why I love the soil and this land so deeply, because it’s one more way to bring Kingdom Come here, to Colorado. I talk about peas, because peas genuinely help my days here with my four wonderful monsters. They heal our bodies & our soil. Composted pods become soil-boosting magic. God wastes nothing—not pea pods and certainly not a Mama’s hurting body. Gardening reminds me of this.
Do you know what kind of marvels and magic exist in those bones of yours? Do you sense the tingling and zapping and heat that Love writes in your life? Do you ache because the glory and goodness of it all rests too heavy on your sure shoulders?
How badly do you want to step into a body and a world that doesn’t ache? I want the glory of peas, fresh flowers, and produce straight from the garden every day. If only every Saturday morning invited buttery croissants, strong, slow-sipped hazelnut lattes, and children who don’t curb stomp each other. I cry out for every Syrian refugee. And can we agree that every last cancer cell needs to vanish into thin air? Instead I’ve received debilitating pain from insane amounts of chemotherapy. Neural pathways of addiction created by childhood trauma will plague me until the day I die. And could someone please share the secret to balanced budgets? Don’t forget the weeds! God bless those mother-trucking weeds.
Peas and pain are two sides on the same coin. I believe Eden sneaks a little bit closer when we allow God and others to touch the damaged pieces of ourselves, when we touch and honor every piece of our human-ness. Love’s healing touch alleviates every torment. The Gospel wins, Love wins, no matter how inky, inconvenient, and imperfect the stain.