August 10, 2016: Looking For Something?

~by Louis Templeman


A person who is looking for something doesn’t travel very fast. E. B. White

I have fallen love with flower gardening. I have flower beds that are six feet wide the length of two sides of my home. The hardest work was in the beginning. The previous owners began very well, but illness caused them to ignore the work and allow the beds to become overrun with weeds and roots. Once I finally finished weeding, turned over the dirt, added organic material, buried the plants and laid down the mulch, my main job became enjoying the plants, fertilizing, watering and regular weeding.

None of this work can be done on the run. I have to slow down, literally stop, get on my knees and stay a while to weed properly. I no longer see it as an unpleasant chore. I have knee pads, insect repellant, gloves and hand tools and I put aside a couple of hours or more and get on my knees and crawl over 110 feet of mulch and plants. I can only do a little bit at a time. I mentally divide up my work in increments. With the Parkinson’s disease that has claimed me, I have learned to take advantage of the cycles of stamina that come and go. I plan the work and, if the stamina is there, I get to it. Once I start working I have to quit and clean up long before I am exhausted. The effects of the disease demands I be flexible and determined if I am to get my yard work done. I may have to retire from this passion one day before I am ready, but for now I enjoy the work and especially the pleasure of seeing my beautiful flowers as I pull into the driveway.

Gardening can be very meditative. It requires that I stop, bend down on my knees and get dirty. It is not quick work. And, it is a work that encourages reflection. I am an aide. I help my plants to grow and bloom. I am encouraging beauty. I am not the beauty. The garden, the blooms get all the attention. But, unless I stop and do the work and enjoy the work nothing I want will happen. I do enjoy the work, but unlike in my younger days, I have to deliberately schedule time to stop. I have to stop before I get tired, because sometimes simply getting tired is just a breath away from exhaustion.

I do not weed or water these beds in a hurry. It is not about speed. I’ve discovered, if I simply enjoy what I am doing, and do it in a relaxed motion and quit before I am tired, the plants bloom brighter. I work methodically, without hurry, and love each plant I work around. It is not about being the best or the most efficient. It is about enjoying the moment.

I think my great love/devotion to my flower beds is more than just the flowers. It has become a time to stop. Get my body and hands engaged in work. And, free my mind for quietness and prayer. Sometimes, I will play a recorded book or a lecture or music on one of my devices. But, usually I like the quiet. Since I am already on my knees it is a good time for prayer. So, basically, I am not trying to go fast anymore. I think it is because I am looking for something.


[LT1]

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Louis writes from Jacksonville, Florida where he lives with his old friend and wonderful bride, Joy. They transformed their friendship into the sacrament of marriage on August 30, 2012. They share their home with two self-absorbed, playful, twin cats (Flo and Jet) and one very allusive and arrogant cat named D. Louis has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and is fighting the good fight. Much of what he writes these days he is sharing his journey with us. Please keep Louis and his wife Joy in your prayers.

CLICK HERE to visit Louis’ Catholic Journeyman Archive

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