The garden is dead.
Not one leaf shows life.
Not a single blossom survives the winter chill.
You are tempted to simply wait
for the warmth of spring
to begin the garden anew,
but you know the soulful work of gardening
done in these lonely hours of winter
spell the difference between a few spring flowers
and the rich abundance of June's brightest promise,
and so you step into the cold,
shovel in hand,
seeing not the frosted frozen soil of now,
but the passionate flowers of tomorrow.
This is a poem by Tom Atkins that was posted on his site a couple of days ago. When I read it, I immediately associated it with the children I have worked with for the past 8 years- children with severe behavior and emotional problems due to the trauma of abuse and neglect. That's what I love about poetry- it's like beauty, the meaning is in the eye of the beholder (or reader, in this case). Instead of a physical garden, I thought about the frozen and deadened hearts I see in the children; children most other people have given up on and don't see any potential in. But using God's vision, I can see in them the potential and hope for the future: "the passionate flowers of tomorrow". Without seeing that, I wouldn't be able to do what I do. I have to continue to pray for God to help me see them through His eyes, as many of them do everything possible to be unlovable and to push people away. So it's the type of work where again and again during "these lonely hours of winter......you step into the cold, shovel in hand." So thanks Tom! This will be a poem I'll go to over and over as I work with "the passionate flowers of tomorrow"! And a big "Hurrah!!!" for the other people I so admire, working in the trenches, doing the very same thing!