Shed past for new life

Over the past few weekends, my husband and I have been spending time in our garden as the daffodils and tulips – and my itchy, watery eyes – have reminded us that spring has sprung.
 Since this is the first year that we’ve been at our home in the spring, the growing bulbs were surprises. We had no idea they were there until they emerged from the ground. The bright yellows, pinks and reds that emerged against the gray surroundings of a cold winter were reminders of the beauty that is to come: not only spring, but summer.

Gardening is not something I ever thought I would enjoy. Digging in the mud, making sure that things are fertilized and watered – those chores only seemed to add to my ever-growing “to-do” list.

Heart changed
Last year, however, I remembered how greatly I anticipated the growth of my seedling vegetables and pumpkins, and how wonderful the backyard looked once we figured out how to prune and take care of our rose bushes.

This year, we were a bit more active, which made sense since we weren’t surrounded by moving boxes and attempting to unpack and turn the house into our home. We laid out a plan for a vegetable container garden and a few more native flowers for a butterfly garden.

Then we got our hands dirty – or, at least, my husband did. As I watched him pull away the old mulch and clear away the dead leaves and wilted flowers that had gathered in the garden beds, I was struck by how closely it resembled our Church’s recent Lenten activities.

As the yard waste container filled with dead matter, it seemed no coincidence that nature seemed to re-enact our own preparation for the coming of Jesus’s death and resurrection.

Just as we tended to our garden, preparing it for the coming months of promised beauty and fulfillment, so too have we pruned ourselves in preparation for our own renewal in the Easter season.

Spring is certainly a reminder that after shedding the leaves and flowers of the past – and a period of darkness – new life will bloom.

Resurrection to new life
In the midst of recalling Jesus’s own life and passion, Catholics are in a constant state of remembrance: Jesus calls us to shed our pasts, to let go of our riches and external trappings in order to follow him with the promise of new life. Completely trusting in him, we find ourselves blooming into new life as we follow our own resurrections into new life with firmly grounded faith.

As I write my column, I’m looking out into our newly prepped garden. The rose bushes have begun growing their reddish leaves, in stark contrast to the woody branches that were steadfast reminders of the barrenness of winter.

Indoors, we’ve started the seedlings for tomatoes and bell peppers and small green shoots are already starting to peek above the mud.

As the vegetables get planted outdoors, I can only hope that they blossom into production and harvest. And as they do so, I will be reminded of my own pruning and of my own shedding of the past in order to do more for others and follow my faith.

Heather Bozant Witcher can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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