I always thought I didn’t have the nurturing spirit so many Mormon women seem to have. I’m sort of OK with children—not mesmerized or made giddy by them, but not repelled by them either. However, this ambivalence has definite ramifications. As a wife without children, I cringe when I hear a lesson about nurturing or motherhood, as they seem to emphasize the differences I feel between me and so many other women.
It’s only recently that I’ve discovered my own way of living up to my nature as a nurturer in other ways. After I moved into my current home, I let two summers go by without engaging in the massive amount of yard work that needed to be done (it had been 15 years since the yard had any real attention). Finally last year, the gardening spirit took hold. I visited online and local nurseries regularly. I learned the names of dozens of plants, and the conditions that will make them thrive. My husband and I ripped out the old weeds and planted five new large perennial gardens. And I found that I loved nurturing my yard, investing in it, watching over it daily, and viewing the progress of little growing things that were only visible to my observant eye.
It is amazing to me what gardening did to transform my spirituality. The metaphors and parables in the scriptures began to come alive in me as I invested so much time, sweat, and muscle into making my world come alive. There were results that were immediate and ones that tried my patience. I’ve learned that sometimes I reap what I sow. Other times, I get something much better, a small effort transformed into a high return. Despite some of my best efforts, sometimes it doesn’t work out at all. And I learned about faith. Winter is a hard time for me, but when I planted bulbs the last weekend of October, I had faith that these bulbs would bring me the good news of spring as soon as it was coming. It’s like waiting for the sun to shine as you step into your darkest hour.
Even though my yard is still dusted with snow, these crocuses have come up as a sign that warmer, brighter days are ahead – days where I can turn my attention back to my garden, which in turn nurtures my own soul.