by Becky Urbanski
I like to think that, as a gardener, I’m part of a group of hopeful people. We have hope that tiny seeds will grow and flourish into plants. Some will be flowers that brighten our days, some will be vegetables that provide food, some will be fragrant grasses and stately trees. As we look at those small packets of seeds or those tiny seedlings, we have hope of what they will become to make our little piece of the world better. Audrey Hepburn once said, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” I think that is so true.
Our Benedictine Core Values can be guiding lights for gardeners. We must have Humility as we sometimes have great fails when caring for our plants. Seeds might not germinate, or we overwater a favorite plant. What is important is that we learn from the experience and move on. The simple nature of gardens is Stability to a physical space.
We watch gardens change throughout the seasons, but they also remain the same. St. Benedict reminds us that God’s presence is in our Work. I can recall some days in the garden where I have never worked harder in my life. This work honors our ability to do so as well as contributes to the community through nature’s beauty. Gardens are made for Hospitality. We love to share our gardens by inviting people to see them, taking flowers to friends, dropping off bags of vegetables to those in need, laughing at the puppy rolling in the freshly mowed grass, or watching the birds sing in the trees.
Gardens are where we can be open to God’s Peace. Time spent in the garden can help us to sort out the complexities of life and can give us strength to meet challenges. Gardens provide quiet places to reflect and to remind us of simple joys such as watching a bee go from flower to flower or the leaves moving in the breeze. The peace given to us from a garden can quiet our spirits and gives us hope.
Finally, I always think that as a gardener I am a “keeper” or steward of this space. I am called to be the caretaker for this garden, and I will not be the only one to do so. The earth has been around for billions of years, and with our help and Stewardship, it will be here for many generations to come.
As summer days arrive, we all need a little peace, joy, and hope. God shows us love through a garden. Happy Summer!
Becky Urbanski, Ed.D. has served in two of our Sisters’ ministries, the College of St. Scholastica and Benedictine, and has been a long-time friend of the Monastery. She recently retired from Benedictine as senior vice president for mission integration and marketing. Becky is also a Master Gardener Emeritus.