When I planted a hedge of Photinia bushes two years ago, I knew what it means to be uptight. So uptight, in fact, that something inside me snapped while I wrestled 2-(felt like 5!)gallon-size potted shrubs into unyielding hardpan. No; it wasn't my sanity, although some people might consider it questionable now and then. There had been no rain for weeks early that spring, and I was harboring animosity toward someone our daughter was dating at the time. The tension I had allowed to build inside of me for several months finally met its match the day I planted those bushes. A back made weak by countless hours of sitting in the UWF library and in front of the computer to finish a degree that year began to show signs of wear and tear by degrees. And an unforgiving spirit of superiority regained a foothold in my soul. I have since discovered it takes a daily dose of garden/nature/prayer time to overcome what amounts to a hill of beans in this Casablanca-of-a-life.
The Fool's Prayer
The royal feast was done; the KingSought some new sport to banish care,And to his jester cried: "Sir Fool,Kneel now, and make for us a prayer!"The jester doffed his cap and bells,And stood the mocking court before;They could not see the bitter smileBehind the painted grin he wore.He bowed his head, and bent his kneeUpon the monarch's silken stool;His pleading voice arose: "O Lord,Be merciful to me, a fool!"No pity, Lord, could change the heartFrom red with wrong to white as wool;The rod must heal the sin; but, Lord,Be merciful to me, a fool!" 'Tis not by guilt the onward sweepOf truth and right, O Lord, we stay;'Tis by our follies that so longWe hold the earth from heaven away."These clumsy feet, still in the mire,Go crushing blossoms without end;These hard, well-meaning hands we thrustAmong the heart-strings of a friend."The ill-timed truth we might have kept--Who knows how sharp it pierced and stung?The word we had not sense to say--Who knows how grandly it had rung?"Our faults no tenderness should ask,The chastening stripes must cleanse them all;But for our blunders--oh, in shameBefore the eyes of heaven we fall."Earth bears no balsam for mistakes;Men crown the knave, and scourge the toolThat did his will; but Thou, O Lord,Be merciful to me, a fool!"The room was hushed; in silence roseThe King, and sought his gardens cool,And walked apart, and murmured low,"Be merciful to me, a fool!"--poem by Edward R. Sill, 1841-1887--