Frosted Sage

I didn’t know if I killed the sage. I didn’t know if the shock of transplant, or the dipping toward freezing temps, or the full moon at the wrong time might kill it. I didn’t know if these splotches of frost, these teeny tiny measures of fluffy ice heaped on the leaves would be lethal. I don’t know enough about plants. But I wanted it in my new garden so I moved it.frosted sage (2)2mp.jpg

Like the sage, I have felt the shock of transplant. After my life turned upside down twenty years ago, I moved from my longstanding home and community in order to protect my children and pay my bills – both as best as I could. Uprooting is hard. One very wise woman (she knows who she is) suggested to me that I had no idea how much I would lose. She was so right.

Like the sage, I was made rather uncomfortable by the whole ordeal. Moving south didn’t involve the challenge of freezing temps but it did involve numerous scary unknowns and a nonstop schedule with insane hours and sure, why not write a book besides all that (because life isn’t crazy enough)! Moving involved new culture, new neighborhood, new relationships – lots of this New woven in with lots of that New woven on top of the old, threadbare-in-places Tapestry of My Life.

Like the sage being affected (or maybe not) by the full moon, I too have been at the mercy of (a lot of) forces I don’t control. The real estate market, for one thing. Its machinations caught me, bit me. Twice. Mainly though, I don’t control other people. Everyone carries on with their own life, and I know they all have burdens to bear. Most don’t know my personal hell, but some of those who do pretended nothing happened, or, geez, it wasn’t that bad. Some “make their peace” with it and land where it seems none of it matters (which is different than pretending nothing happened). Some don’t realize that A affects B in ways you don’t see until twenty years later. Some judge. Some blame. Some withdraw. Some make decisions that have painful, landscape-altering consequences.

But in all fairness to the sage, strength and resilience have played a mighty role. Fine, pluck me up, roots and all. Replant me in a more convenient location. I will stand firm, and the sun will shine here too and the rain will come. In winter I will rest. In spring and summer and fall I will bring beauty and flavor.

Likewise, shock of transplant, discomfort and forces I don’t control have not been all bad for me. My faith is stronger, my perspective broader, my tolerance greater. In a new place, wonderful people have come into my life and the ties I have with some from before have been strengthened. Many have wrapped love and comfort and prayer around me and reminded me intermittently in their personal, special ways about what is important, which helps more than they can ever know. Some bring gifts, some bring humor, some bring advice, hope, joy, fun, inspiration. Some hold me tight, some make me smile or laugh out loud, some help me make things nicer than they were before, some show me reasons to count my blessings. Some do a lot of these things in one beautiful bundle.

Pushing the boundaries of what you thought you could do generally results in You can do more than you thought. Doing more than I planned on, more than I thought possible, more than my imagination could ever have conjured up, changed me. Had things not happened as they did, would I be the person I am? Had unforeseeable pain, calamitous events and inevitable ripples not occurred, would I understand some things I didn’t understand before – even if there is way more yet to understand? Even if pain resurfaces at very inconvenient times? It is not for me to know what the Me Whose Life Didn’t Turn Upside Down would look like. I only know the Me whose life did. I can’t be sure, but I think this Me might be stronger.

I am glad beyond words to be where I am, but forces beyond my control have nothing to do with location. I suspect I would have learned in any case that life throws punches and some of them hurt. I would have learned in other ways, but learned it nonetheless, that Good begets Good. I would have kept the best of my old friends (I hope!) and met some amazing new people and seen glimpses of everyone’s true colors one way or another. I am not sure what will kill me, but so far, by the grace of God, it is none of the above. Nor is it a red pickup truck barreling through an intersection at unsuspecting me and Jerry. If indeed I have been moved to “The Back of the Line,” there are punches yet to meet, marvels yet to witness, joys yet to embrace.

The sage endured the unexpected shock and challenge of a move, but landed in a bed of fresh, good soil. Perhaps so have I. Today’s rain is dripping straight and steady, doing its job, balancing the sunshine like tears that are coupled with hope.

rained on sage2mp.jpg

17 thoughts on “Frosted Sage

      • Annie, thank you so much for your very kind and heartwarming comment. It’s funny, isn’t it, that you, coming from the outside, not knowing me, can see the situation and sum it up more clearly than some who are closer to it. A case of the forest and the trees I guess. I apologize for taking so long to respond. To be honest, writing that one threw me a bit and I’ve been madly quilting for days — a kind of therapy for people who need to put their hands on things and do something productive and comforting when the heart is stirred up. It’s better now, mostly, and onward we go… Thank you again.

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  1. Patricia,
    This should be read to all high school seniors before they graduate. You’ve summed up beautifully how painful and difficult life can be; how quickly life can change (literally in the blink of an eye) and how out of the manure of life, one not only can survive but thrive and make a good life. We want to have control over our lives and what happens in them. We all want the best life we can have. Life laughs with tender patience at us when we think we should only have the best and nothing else; when we believe we have control. If we had a crystal ball to look at what trials and tribulations await us in life, I think damned few of us would move forward out of sheer terror! However, it is only through the fights that we grow as people. It is through reflection that we deepen who we are inside. Resilience and guts are so under-respected, underappreciated; but clearly, you have beaucoups of both, my dear friend!

    I’ve found that people’s hardships tend to scare many.They have their own stuff to deal with and it’s awkward and uncomfortable and hard when they see that someone else needs that extra kind word or support from them and they don’t know how to give it.They don’t know how to be a support system, yet. It’s something they still need to learn to grow into, if they aren’t too stubborn or selfish or just plain unwilling. It’s so damned hard when people you once counted on aren’t there for you though.

    You are a beautiful soul Patricia. I don’t know anything about all you’ve been through, but I hope you’re proud (and I think that you are) of all that you’ve accomplished–as you should be. I think when it’s time to meet God, he’ll look at you and say, “Well done, my child!” Big hugs to you, my friend! Beautiful picture of the frost on the sage! Mona

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    • Dear Mona,
      Your beautiful words affirm for me that the things we go through find their place in the great big tapestry we call our life and that even if there are ugly parts, the overall image is good. Thank you! Sometimes I think I try too hard or I think too much or I take things to heart beyond what is good for me. But the way that the events or circumstances of our lives combine with who we are deep within ourselves cannot always be ideal either. As much as I know “it’s not so much what happens in life as what-we-do-with what happens in life,” still sometimes what happens sucks, and we reel from it. Finding footing is so much easier when you have solid support and loving hands and hearts to help you through.
      Thank you for your great and heartfelt encouragement. I appreciate it more than I can say. I don’t know what God will say, but I know he will know I tried!!
      Patricia

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  2. Pingback: Straight Seams and a Woobly Wander | An Unboring Path

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