Hardship Reveals Character

Every time you see “garden,” substitute it with COVID-19, cancer, an affair, car accident, death.

We all get thrown for a loop at times. Some of us more than other, some of us harder than others, some of us may not truly have experienced this kind of life disruption in any kind of significant way.

While my gardening issues are nothing compared to a cancer diagnosis or the other things just mentioned, it’s a good metaphor.

Whether your radar caught the magnitude of the pandemic when the word was first mentioned from China in January, or it was in February when our children were coming home because of schools closing, or maybe it was March when Americans being told to stay at home, globally, we all have been impacted.

Character Revealed

During times of unexpected or unplanned events, our character is revealed. Coping skills, defense mechanisms, styles of relating with others…it all comes to the surface.

  • Did you close your eyes, put your fingers in your ears and start singing la la la la la?
  • Did you get to work making a list of the things you might need over the next couple of months?
  • Did you go to the internet and scroll and scroll and scroll and scroll to see what everyone was saying?
  • Did you start getting snappy at people?
  • Did you go quiet and want to hide away from it all?
  • Did you call your 25 best friends and see if they were all ok?
  • Did you start sanitizing everything?
  • Did you find someone to point your finger at and blame?
  • Did you sit down with your children and focus on their health and well-being, resolving to keep them happy though it all?

Our 2020 Garden

You may have done a variety of these things, as did we. One of the things we did was start thinking ahead.

I was an avid vegetable garden hobbyist for years, until around 2014ish when we agreed that I/we were just too busy to care for a garden and the local Farmer’s Market was a better option. We dismantled the garden, expanded our lawn and an above ground pool took it’s place.

This meant that now, present day, we had to identify a new location for the garden and build a new structure, as in the past, the rabbits and crows had their way with us, chewing our plants off at the stem and dive bombing our fruits and vegetables just before they were ready to be harvested.

We purchased our seeds and supplies for the garden structure and got right to work clearing, building and seed starting! Thankfully, our wonderful neighbors (my husband’s parents), were on board with the garden going in their backyard!

Meanwhile, seedlings were thriving!

Now let me just say, anyone who has planted like this knows, you check your plants EVERY day! You check your plants maybe 5x/day! They were truly thriving…until…one day they appeared pale and yellowish.

That’s when, BAM! “Your plants are sick!“ set in. Within 24 hours they were even more pale, spotted and drooping.

As I said, I’m not new at vegetable gardening. This has never happened to me before, and how sudden and rapid it was, that was even worse!

This was yet another time for the battle of my character to be played out. Panic? Disappointment? What am I going to do? How do I fix it? How do I start over and now be 6 weeks behind, in an already short Cape Cod growing season??? Can you even buy starts at the garden centers?

A poor comparison, but when you get the call that your loved one has cancer, do you move into action mode or is this the beginning of giving up strength and hope?

When a global pandemic is announced and you can’t easily get your shopping done, lose your job and everything becomes more difficult and uncertain, do you say, “I’ll just sit here and wait for news that help is coming.” Or do you start thinking about what you need, what your options are and how you can be resourceful?

And What About Faith?

Who is on the throne in your life? Is it you? Your spouse? Is it the government? Is it the government that is somehow going to make it all better for you? Is it your parents or grandparents, no matter what your age? Can they fix it? Or is it your faith?

Work like everything depends on you and pray like everything depends on God.

Saint Ausustine