Monday, December 10, 2012

Sanctuary Gardens: Terry Hershey

Last year a client forwarded Sabbath Moment from Terry Hershey.

Every week, I take the time to read all of it.  Often passing it forward.
He gardens too, above.
Garden & Be Well,  XO Tara

Terry Hershey

Uncle George

December 10, 2012

What is honored will be cultivated there. Plato   

If I have told you these details about the asteroid, and made a note of its number for you, it is on account of the grown-ups and their ways. When you tell them that you have made a new friend, they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you, "What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?" Instead, they demand: "How old is he? How many brothers has he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?" Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him. The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Jesus     

Do you have any relatives that make you wonder
about the gene pool in your family tree?  Well, Uncle George was demanding and difficult. Looking after him was stressful, taxing and thankless.  Driving to the funeral of Uncle George, the young man let loose with pent-up emotion.

"Thank God," he says to his wife. "I suppose I'm sorry he died, but I've got to tell you, I don't think I could have stood one more day with that annoying man. I've had enough. And I'm telling you that the only reason I gave so much time and energy to your Uncle George was because of my love for you!"

"My Uncle George," she says flabbergasted. "My Uncle George? I thought he was your Uncle George!"

We collect Uncle Georges. It is the perfect metaphor for any anxiety, worry, fret, disquiet, apprehension or fear that is elevated to the level of urgent consternation. Uncle George consumes us. And he's not even our uncle. 

"Martha, Martha! You worry and fuss about a lot of things."
Jesus, The Gospel of Luke 

Which means there is a shift: I am now worrying about stuff I can do nothing about. And I give the better part of my attention, energy and time to non-essential matters.

And yet. For all our objections to the contrary, we collect worries like we collect all our STUFF... there's always room for one more. It seems to take care of something. I know I like to use Uncle George to let you know how important, or busy, or indispensable I am. It's still about control.

But worry and fuss is a pickle, because it gums up the system. Stops the flow. Worry, from an Anglo-Saxon word "to strangle" or "to choke." As if literally cutting off the air supply that allows us to breathe emotionally and spiritually.  

It's not just the accumulation of Uncle George(s), it is that we have become untethered and susceptible. So we feel at the mercy of--whether it be exhaustion, public opinion, the need to pacify or please, the need to impress, or fear or embarrassment or potential failure.

Here's the deal: preoccupied with Uncle George, I am quite literally, not myself. I am of two minds. I am exhausted, busy, pulled in many directions... and numb, not really available for people I love. And I am not really available to any wholehearted fire or gladness or desire or intention.  This is not to say that we can't engage in activities, or service, or work. However, work that is fueled by a need to be needed, or need to prove value is too consuming, leaving no time for rejuvenation, or prayer, or delight, or the quiet work of the Spirit.

So. What to do? As if we don't feel bad enough, some opt for the willpower-on-steroids approach, "Just cut it out!" That lasts for a half hour or so, about the same amount of time I can give up serious dark chocolate.

Others opt for techno-cure. Our paper had an article promoting "Hot gadgets to chill on vacation." Who knew? To think I can't relax unless I have the proper equipment. (Although, maybe they have a devise to help me remember all the stuff I forgot to worry about.)

The bottom line? With Uncle George we lose focus. When this happened to Jesus' friends, ("because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat," The Gospel of Mark), Jesus--mercifully--didn't preach or lecture or lead a prayer or offer a gadget.  The story says, immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, while he sent the crowds away. "Come with me by yourselves," Jesus told them, "to a quiet place and get some rest."

It's not about creating a life absent of stress.
It's about being present, even in the hectic.
In other words, it is in the rest, the refueling, the "be-ing," the Sabbath that we refocus on essential matters, and allows us to let go, to be present, even in the busy, the noise, the demands, the lists.   

My friend tells the story about a Nativity play at his parish. Mary and Joseph show up at the inn, hoping for lodging. The little girl, playing the innkeeper, has only one line, "No room." But she apparently isn't beholden to the script. She opens the door (of the inn), looks at Mary and Joseph, and then looks out at the priest. She looks back at Mary and Joseph, and then looks out at her parents. She looks at Mary and Joseph and says, "Oh well, you might as well come on in for a drink."
Yes... I think that's great. We need the freedom (wisdom) of that little girl... the spontaneity and joy and compassion and gladness that comes from not being beholden. 

Today I am stressed. I have a rather intimidating pile on my desk (it could be two piles, but I'm afraid to try and separate them). I have obligations and travel commitments and speeches to make. I recognize that with the stress, I go through my days with a different point of view. It is predictable that I no longer see surprises, or splendor in the unexpected, because now I am too focused on what is missing, and I see only defects, imperfections and blemishes. This worry is gumming up the system. It is choking my sense of awe. Perhaps I've lost sight of essential matters.

There is more work to be done tonight, but it can wait. Sarah Mclachlan is singing Silent Night, there is a little Bordeaux left and a couple more ornaments for Zach to put on the tree. Right now, this is more important. It is the heart of Sabbath. The music washes over me. And, at least for the moment, I don't give any thought to Uncle George.
I want to know if joy, curiosity, struggle, and compassion bubble up in a person's life. I'm interested in being fully alive.  Alan Jones    

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Poems and Prayers          

I am an old man and have known a great many troubles,
but most of them never happened. Mark Twain
Why I am Happy
Now has come, an easy time. I let it
roll. There is a lake somewhere
so blue and far nobody owns it.
A wind comes by and a willow listens
I hear all this, every summer. I laugh
and cry for every turn of the world,
its terribly cold, innocent spin.
That lake stays blue and free; it goes
on and on.
And I know where it is.
William Stafford

Dear Lord,
Help us to do our very best this day
and be content with today's troubles
so that we shall not borrow the troubles of tomorrow.
Save us from the sin of worrying,
lest stomach ulcers be the badge of our lack of faith.
Peter Marshall 

Be Inspired

Misty River -- Heather's Song
Melissa Etheridge -- Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
Sarah Mclachlan -- Silent Night

Favorites from Last Week:    
Patty Griffin -- I don't ever give up  
Patty Griffin -- Forgiveness  
Final dance in the movie Strictly Ballroom   
The only response is gratefulness - Brother David Steindl-Rast
When it don't come easy - Patty Griffin 
Sarah Mclachlan -- Answer 
The Prayer --  Shy Boy and his Friend Shock the Audience on Britain's Got Talent
Sarah Mclachlan -- In the arms of an angel 
Pete Seeger -- Forever Young 

Notes from Terry
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FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Dear Tara ~ I always enjoyed Terry Hershey's newsletters, they were so inspirational. When he started charging, I had to let go, as it isn't in our budget.

I just lost my husband of 43 years yesterday morning, and my gardens will definitely be a sanctuary for me.

FlowerLady Lorraine

Tara Dillard said...

Sorry for your loss. Happy to know you have a garden to nurture you.

Cannot imagine placing 43+ years from life into your heart. It hurts.

Terry's e-newsletter is free.

Garden & Be Well, XO T

Henhurst Interiors said...

Thanks for sharing.

Divine Theatre said...

One drink couldn't hurt!


Nella said...

Magnificent, never new this, read it all....Thank you, N.xo

cindy hattersley said...

Thanks for sharing..uncle george gave me a chuckle...

Kay said...

Thanks so much for this! I subscribed right away.

Terry Hershey said...

Tara... One of your clients sent me to your blog... and I want to thank you for the mention of Sabbath Moment... as you know well, all of us are gardeners whether or not we've ever picked up a trowel... Because garden is about savoring, and savoring has only one requirement--to be present. Keep spilling the light with what you do...