Peace in the Landscape of “Retirement” (R-words in the Garden)

You are a garden fountain,
    a well of flowing water
    streaming down from Lebanon.

Song of Songs 4:15

I may be experiencing some extra aches and pains in my joints, and popping a few more ibuprofen than usual, but the good news is that Rebekah and I are out there in the garden, actually making progress, and it is making all the difference in the landscape of “retirement.”

Thinking about it more objectively, I’d say we spent our first nine years in Wake Forest essentially marking time in the garden. Our focus was the church, 100%, and we were blessed to see eight years of growth in every way, in all or our favorite “R”-words: redemption, reconciliation, restoration, resurrection, reawakening; God was doing some tremendous work and we were witnesses to so much new life.

Then that first year of retirement our focus was pretty much 100% on my parents, and in seeking to find new rhythms of life. It was, to be honest, disappointing and frustrating.

But now, for the first time, I believe we are beginning to find our way; and a big part of this new “R”-word, “reimagining”, is the realization that Rebekah (she is – always – my most favorite “R”-word) can grab hold of something she loves and work – again, in partnership with God – to see redemption, reconciliation, restoration, resurrection, and reawakening… but this time in a messy, overgrown, difficult to work garden with clay and rocks for soil and so many weeds and vines to dig up that have been ignored for too many years.

Today’s featured project:

Today’s post features the new raised-bed she just built around one of our massive pines.

Rebekah unearthed (literally, while digging up vines) over 50 good-sized rocks and boulders. I then hauled them to the back garden, where she outlined a raised bed, which we filled with good soil before planting a variety of the specimens we had salvaged from Ken and Anne Cobb’s garden (read, “Gardening with Rebekah: we must take better care of this Good Earth”) earlier in the week.

I believe we are at our best when we are engaged in activities that remind us – in every breath – of the fact that we were created with purposeful intention, and that God continues to work in and through us in every possible way.

May our every moment be a prayer – both conscious and unconscious; a prayer of thanksgiving and praise, and also a prayer of asking that God inhabit us with the same purposeful intention poured into our creation as beings designed to carry the image of our Creator.

Works in progress:

– writer Derek Maul blooms where he is planted in Wake Forest

If you come by and visit us and our garden, I can’t promise you much more than a work in progress, with occasional glimpses of what is possible; but that’s pretty much us, anyway. I do believe, however, that you will sense a little more satisfaction, and purpose, and rest, and peace in the gardeners.

In love, and because of love – DEREK

Here’s the project (just because I’m taking photos doesn’t mean I didn’t dig!)

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