Updated: Feb 10, 2020
By Kathy Day
It is a beautiful Alabama summer morning, as I enter Tony’s garden. The sky is a deep blue, the birds are cheerfully singing, and my yard is awash with the colors of green grass, yellow dandelions, deep purple berries, and multicolored blossoms. Bees busily fly from flower to flower and crickets chirp happily. Peace and beauty surround me, and I feel a connection to Adam and Eve. I picture them carefully tending the Garden of Eden and remember that “the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” (Genesis 2:15)
As I continue to walk through Tony’s garden, my thoughts are of him. I picture my husband carefully tending his garden. There is a measure of sorrow as I walk through the peaceful, well ordered garden. Tony no longer sits watching over and cultivating it. He died only a few days before my quiet, thoughtful walk, but despite the fact that the sower’s hand has gone cold, the garden has become a source of comfort and a place of reflection.
My thoughts turn to the words of a favorite Christian Hymn:
I Come to the Garden
I come to the garden alone, when the dew is still on the roses;
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear the Son of God discloses.
I stay in the garden with Him; “Tho” the night around me be falling
But he bids me go “thro” the voice of woe his voice to me is calling.
And He walks with me and he talks with me;
And he tells me I am his own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there;
None other has ever known…
C. Austin Miles, March 1912, cyberhymnal.org
I am reminded of how often God refers to gardens as he tries to teach us about the meaning of life. We have been sent to an earthly garden, one carefully created for our growth and development by a loving Father. As with Adam, we have been asked to dress this garden, and our life, with the seeds of faith, obedience, commitment and charity. Our time tending this beautiful garden of life will come to an end, and only the fruits of our labors will remain behind.
I came to the garden alone, yet I sensed Tony there as I experienced the presence of an all-knowing and loving Savior who desired to comfort me and help me through this trial. I wished to stay in Tony’s garden and have him always with me. As my desire to grieve and withdraw within
myself began to dominate my thoughts, the words of the hymn echoed forcefully: “He walks with me, He talks with me and He tells me I am His own.” I was reminded that “men are that they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25).
Christ had born my sorrow and wanted me to experience happiness. I knew I could only find peace and contentment by stepping out of Tony’s garden and into the garden of life. A garden whose thorns and noxious weeds are removed through the faith to endure until life’s tasks are through and with a willingness to meet each challenge with joy and peace, the peace that passeth all understanding, a peace watered by the recognition of the presence and hand of the ultimate gardener, Jesus Christ.
I do not know how long that I will walk through life’s garden. Only the Lord knows. For now, I have found the courage to walk this path alone, but I realize that I am not truly alone. I have a Savior who walks beside me. As my faith has begun to take root, I have been able to find the
peace only the Savior can bring. As the song states:, “I am the Savior’s own!” I know he will bring me joy as I tarry here. One day I will return home to the Savior’s feet and in his eternal garden walk hand in hand with Tony once again.
Kathleen Day is from Loveland, Colorado and is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She enjoys sewing, reading, and scrapbooking. Kathy has 5 grown children, and 7 grandchildren.