written by: Sarah Williams
Social distancing brought on by the Coronavirus-craziness has created a mix of forced rest and stir-crazy-productivity around the house for me. I know many of us are freaking out about this new normal, how long it will last, and how many people will have to suffer and die until our world gets on top of this pandemic. To find comfort and avoid cabin fever, I’ve been outside a lot for walks, playing with my dog, gardening, etc.
In the garden, I’ve weeded, watered, mulched, planted bulbs, and prepared seeds. All the while, this quote from Audrey Hepburn keeps coming to mind and giving me hope: “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” By the very act of gardening, we are putting that belief into action, to ensure that there will be new life, beauty, and nature to soak up and witness in the coming days. Though we have to endure the wait while the buds and new growth are forming, spring comes breaking forth in new blossoms, fruit, veggies, and greenery. Birds, butterflies, bugs, and us humans are able to revel in the goodness of the garden in full bloom. And, so too, I’m choosing to believe will be the case for all of us, after this wait, reveling in the goodness of everyday life once we get through this Coronavirus outbreak.
I find it so eerily beautiful and poetic that this is happening during the season of Lent on our Christian calendar. The spiritual practice of a season of waiting, of darkness, of knowing something good is coming, but not yet here. Just as Jesus spent his 40 days in the wilderness, we are in a new wilderness with the unknown of this virus. As the virus spreads, we have been forced to better live out Lent with the global slowdown and our governments forcing us to hunker down as we rest and wait.
Lent usually, in our busy, stressful, distracted ways of living, can be hard to live out. One silver lining to the Coronavirus cloud is that it is forcing us to slow down, re-center, reflect and focus on ourselves, our God, our homes, our families, our neighbors, those who need help in our communities. It gives us time to do some weeding out of the bad, cultivating the good, and hoping for what’s to come. To garden is to believe in tomorrow – both in our yards and in our hearts, souls, and minds.
The practice of Lent is to prepare for and believe in the tomorrow of Easter Sunday. As we come near the end of this season of Lent, we’ll be celebrating Christ’s victory over death in a different, socially distanced way this year. Even so, I’m hopeful we’ll celebrate that in a deeper, more real way this Easter with the Coronavirus. Until then, let us garden, both in our backyards and in our souls, with the full faith and belief in a better tomorrow, just below the surface, ready to bloom with new life and beauty.