On faith, hope, and worry

I’m sure there is some tenet of some religion (or many religions) that holds that worry isn’t cool because it’s a sign you don’t have enough faith in the good Lord above. I’m sure I’ve heard this preached, or read it preached, and I’m sure I believe it.

I’m sure there is a school of intellectual discourse that holds that worry isn’t cool because it’s fruitless. Worry doesn’t change what will or won’t be; it only makes you miserable. I’m sure I believe it.

I’m sure I have always loved the poem Desiderata since I first read it posted on one of the secretary’s bulletin boards at the first job I ever had. It talks about not giving in to worry:

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

I’m sure I believe it.

As sure as I am of these, I’m also sure I’m a worrier. A gut-clenching, heavy-hearted, deep-sighing worrier.

Like my dad. Not at all like my mom. She takes after my grandpap, who seemed to define the word happy-go-lucky. I sure didn’t get the h-g-l gene.

I’m sure the moments, minutes, hours, even years of my life lost to worry have never accomplished a darn thing. Nothing desirable anyway.

So why does it persist? Do I lack the faith…the intellect…the soul of a poet? All three?

If I pray to stop worrying, does that mean I have faith?

If I constantly tell myself it’s useless to worry, does that mean I’m smart?

If I keep going back to Desiderata, does that mean I have hope?

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

I don’t know what it means. I don’t know what a lot of things mean. But I do know that that, at least, is not something to worry about. I wish I could convince myself that nothing else is either.

Let not your heart be troubled.
~ John: 14:1

The bloom is on the wort!


I got a nice hunk of pulmonaria (lungwort) from my neighbor last year and am amazed to find it’s already blooming, well before the foliage fully transforms into its lovely, speckled self. (My sister and I have joked that we need to have a “wort” garden, just because it’s funny to say.)

And check this out: daffies! Already!


Makes me a little worried — too warm too soon? Will everything get zapped when we get the inevitable April snowstorm? Doesn’t bode well for the magnolia out front.

Just look at the buds on this lilac — a poor little guy we rescued from overgrown viburnum and privet. It hasn’t bloomed since we moved it two years ago, so I hope this will be the year — white blooms.


Sad to see a few things didn’t survive. I can never resist taking a chance on an unfamiliar “find” at the garden center, but they never seem to work for me. This was, of course, lovely when I bought it — blue flowers (another something I can’t resist). No tag, and I can’t remember what it was called. I had such high hopes of it trailing over the new wall.


At least the lemon thyme seems to have survived (though some other varieties haven’t), and the tricolor sedum is pinking up nicely — it’s never this pink in summer.



But, not so fortunate inside. Just like every year, the rosemary I try to overwinter does fine until just before I can put it outside again. Then it channels Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree and it’s all over. I’m always starting from scratch with these.


Oh, I know it’s not good to be wishing life away, but March can’t be over soon enough. There’s so much hope to be found in April, especially because we’ve planted so much. I just went through and did a quick count of my beloved plant tags — 50 shrubs (not counting multiples of the same kind, like boxwood) and 75 perennials. Of course, not all have survived, but even so, spring is pretty exciting.

I look around, though, and see just how much more there is to do and to fill in. Makes me admire “real” gardens and gardeners even more. (You’ll notice all of my garden pictures show a lot of mulch — of course the goal is that you see something growing everywhere, shoulder to shoulder, instead of boring brown bark. Give us 10 years or so for that…)

And yes, last year I was speculating whether April really is the cruellest month…what a difference 12 months make, bringing much perspective and enough progress to make the eternal warm-weather DIY fixer-upper projects a bit less daunting.

It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is.
And when you’ve got it, you want — oh, you don’t
quite know what it is you do want, but it just
fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!
~ Mark Twain