Gardeners and Bells

I prefer to write about beautiful things, so I don’t want to tell about the mess I made this evening of staking a tomato plant about two months too late. It is a robust Juliet cherry with branches 2-3 feet long that had started to send down roots where they were sprawled on the damp ground. I gathered up the legginess as best I could with gardener’s tape, around three splintery stakes. In spite of the chaotic result, I expect there will be fruit, thanks to the rain and sunshine that falls on the gardens of the just and the unjust, the diligent and the lazy.
Beautiful tomatoes from the past

A few days ago I ran across Leonard Cohen’s verse (below) that has been singing itself in my head ever since, making me notice many ways that our earthly lives fall short of the ideal, often in more significant places than the garden. We fail to do our best, others fail to love us, the banks and the corporations do us wrong — we populate this list day by day.

It’s an aspect of reality that can only be denied at the risk of one’s sanity. The humbling we experience when contemplating the “streets filled with broken hearts” and other destruction that Bob Dylan sings about in “Everything is Broken” is the best start toward mental and spiritual health.

 Then the Gardener, the Physician of our souls, the Light of the World, can do His work, and give us grace to keep working at repairing the bad jobs we’ve made. He also gives us Himself as the rejoicing of our hearts — and nothing is more Real than that.
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
    –from “Anthem” by Leonard Cohen

11 thoughts on “Gardeners and Bells

  1. Yes…”an aspect of reality that can only be denied at the risk of one's sanity”….but so important what we do with it. I love how you wrote about these inner turnings in a way that can not only be shared but as you pry the crack a bit, lets light shine for others…as light does, as you know, shine into and out from all the residences of Christ in His Spirit


  2. I've been reading the Anne of Green Gables books. Lucy Maud Montgomery had such vision and perspective. She created a character of compassion and hope. I love it. Your post is precisely hopeful, Gretchen Joanna.


  3. Great quote – so true, isn't it?
    We've got long legged tomatoes this year too — Jack and the Tomato Stalk around here ;). I gave up trying to stake them as I didn't have tomato cages tall enough — ended up cutting back the tops.


  4. Nothing is perfect…that's wonderful! Thank you for sharing that verse!!! I hope your tomatoes do well…I was pulling up some sweet peas to string upwards and sadly broke some of the vines…that happens, but I'm sure we'll still get lots. Wishing you a happy 4th!!!


  5. Tying up the tomatoes after they've gotten unruly is a trial indeed!

    I love that Leonard Cohen quote so much I used it as the epigraph to my book Falling In. Have you heard him sing the song? It's really pretty.



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