Several weeks ago, my new neighbours,a young Iranian couple knocked at my door asking a favour….if I could help water their little garden of newly planted flowers and plants as they will be away on holiday back to Iran.I said ‘yes’I could do that.To be honest, I am not a green -thumb kind of a person and I dont even water the plants outside my front or back yard….the rain does a good job of it and they still remain luscious and green!
So for 3 weeks while they were away I did go and water their garden……..while watering, I watched myself and saw how happy for the moment and pleased I was doing a good deed for another……it gave me a sense of joyful pride to be careful to not over water, as I do not know much about gardening.
I realised too that the couple do not know anything of me(it was their first time knocking at my door) yet they entrusted me to tend to as what I could see their prized garden work.It was beautiful, I managed their garden and it seemed blossoming as I waited for them to come back and take over…….I too witnessed a blossoming of tenderness in me to see how I could do such a small task yet feel so much joy and pleasure in that endeavour.And I thought to myself that the couple themselves had a heart of caring and trust to have wanted me to do a favour for them without knowing me at all.
They returned from their holiday,showed their gratitude towards me by inviting me into their home for Iranian tea and sweet treats that they brought back from Iran.They wholeheartedly thanked me for the little job.It was through this small favour asked and done that created a bridge to friendship and peaceful gestures……while sitting with them,I truly enjoyed myself and their company…it felt like hearts were being opened and touched.In both ways,we gained! To add to the little gardening job entrusted to me,I collected their mails and newspapers without their asking me to do so …….I did so out of my own heart’s conscience,to which they were very very grateful to me for as they said they did not even think about it.My heart felt comforted by their gratitude.
Little tasks and favours and things we do for each other without any want of returns and motives….open the gateway to selflessness and kindness and harnessing good karma(cause and effect),reap what we sow!
This brings me back to my childhood to what I witnessed with my parents,how they watered and tended the garden of my heart.
My mother was a quiet homely person who was a full-time housewife,she never liked going out much,some afternoons she would have these same 2-3 ladies visit her at home(Mary, Marjie and Brigitte) they would come to sit and chat with her,sometimes, I think,they drove my mother up the wall with their ‘nonsense chatter’……however,my mother would still be kind with them and made them tea and bought local cakes to entertain….but they all had these one thing about asking and borrowing from my mother for money…not much though.I would watch as my mother opened her purse and give them however little/much they asked for.Somehow I felt that my mother didn’t expect them to return the money,but they did return in whatever sum they could afford.I didnt see my mother making a big fuss about it.We were not a rich family. There were five young children to feed at the time, the sixth child came later on,my father was a simple man who earned a meager income just enough for all of us.
Despite my being so very young I somehow knew the value of money and knew we were not well to do for my mother to be giving out/lending money, yet seeing my mother give money to these ladies opened up a space in my heart to my own child like wisdom…it was good for me to see that my mother had a kindly demeanor,she was not selfish or hardened or ‘bad, even if she appeared sometimes ‘tight’with spending, it was because she had a big family to care for.It was comforting for me to notice she was soft inside, a softness that was not being taken advantage of….the ladies did give her back the money,perhaps not all but still some,so that makes her good and caring and trusting person.In seeing her do what she did, she nourished my heart and planted the seeds of kindness and charity.I saw that she gave but did not become poor or distraught by it,but instead she sowed good seeds and watered her own heart garden to later reap where her children in later years provided for her the best till her death.
Looking back at how my father impacted and watered the garden of my heart was very poignant….I always felt a very strong bond with my father…yet we never could meet eye to eye…….we would differ in opinions and decisions and were very much against each others outlook of life…….yet ironically……I felt my heart beat the same as his interiorly….he had a deep sense of spirituality and religiosity,he commanded a prayerful,simple and ‘god-fearing’ attitude in daily living….not in a regimented way but in a devout manner. I could not agree with him then nor did I yet see the goodness of his heart so easily touched with a child-like softness,easily to forgive,readily asking for forgiveness if he thought he did anything wrong and a very strong inclination to doing acts of sacrificial kindness for others.
I remember,he allowed two homeless families come live with us on makeshift cardboard beds in our huge living room and sacrificed to eating less in order that these families would be able to share our meal.I loved to see his big hearted-ness,not afraid to give and share despite us being not well to do.Yes he was always willing to take less so that others would have some too,mostly when it came to sharing food.I can still hear his voice roaring to us children…”I don’t say the word love often but I put it in action.” And he means to tell us to live in love and act on it! Now when I look back….I feel blessed and grateful for how he had planted some beautiful flowers and nurtured my heart’s garden graciously through his life.
In truth the garden of my heart was not always nurtured by a bed of roses and beautiful flowers and lush greenery by my parents/families nor society,nor culture,nor religion,nor country,nor the world but it was also filled with weeds, unfertile soil and overflooding,droughts and thorns and insect infestations leaving prolonged damaging effects and unhealthy nurturing conditions on my heart’s garden……..did I let the damage continue or did I tend to the garden and help make it conducive for flowers to bloom again! Yes, in truth, I had to pull the weeds, refill the garden with fertile soil, water it consistently and made sure,insects or thorns did not damage and choke the flowers……..I had to be responsible for the plot of beautiful garden gifted to me and tend to it with Love!
How would we tend to the garden of our hearts?