Flowers & Garden

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Series of dreams continued all through the night. In the last dream I had, I was back on the Big Island, as a tourist, walking along the familiar paths on my first day. I had some lunch and went shopping, then I was busy texting my friends to let them know that I was back. My heart was fluttering, a sensation I have not felt in a long time. 

The dream was so vivid that I had to think for a few seconds to realize that it was only a dream. And surprisingly, I found myself welcoming the relief arising at the thought of being “here and now” in my present. There was a sense of unease about being so far away during my Hawaii dream. 

I’ve been busy moving around my plants. What started out as seeds have now grown to fill my small containers. I transplanted some Alyssum, Carpet of Snow by the mailbox. Mix of various flowers labeled as “English Cottage Mix” found their new home in a small garden bed right by my deck. This is my first year as a gardener and I have no clue about what I am doing. But the simple joy of digging, planting, watering, and watching things grow is rewarding on its own. I am not expecting to harvest anything. 

So far, I have planted tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, cabbages, Thai peppers, Bell peppers, Korean peppers, carrots, lettuce, beets, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, watermelons, cilantro, basil, green onions, and perilla leaves. Obviously, I went overboard at one point and the list just kept growing and growing. But the plants? Many of them stopped growing. Again, I have no idea what I did wrong. But I worked hard all spring and successfully sprouted everything from seeds. I can’t be more proud of myself. 

The thing is, my life in Hawaii to me feels like the years of seedlings. Nothing really came to full fruition there. My life came in many forms. I was a writer, a cafe manager, a racing paddler, a cyclists, etc. But the thing that defined me the most was that I was a bipolar sufferer. I tried so hard to maintain all that I was, but in the end, my long depressive episode had its final win and my best at that time was to flee from the island.

Ten years have passed since I moved back to the mainland. I lived in three different States during the last decade. I am comfortably settled in the ninth house which, by far, is my favorite of all the houses and apartments I’ve lived in. Now that I have no foreseeable plans to move, I am busy moving the plants here and there.

While I was busy tending my garden, a family of backyard birds were also busy starting their own family. What started back in April as an empty bird nest is now a chirpy and lively house full of baby birds. The Spring came and went with no major events. My backyard streamed beautiful sound of cicadas and now cicadas have quieted. Instead, I hear the baby birds waking up to life. Welcome home and welcome to the world. I whisper to them every morning. This summer is going to mean a lot of growth and learning to fly for those little baby birds. Then one day, they will wake up and know that the time has come to uproot.

I sat on my deck and spent some time reading Luke chapter 17. In it, the apostles says to Jesus, “Increase our faith!”. Jesus’s reply was this. ““If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you” (Luke 17:5-6)

That one spring day over a decade ago, I took a leap of faith and did what I believed was the last resort to my survival. I went to the island. I was uprooted and was planted in the sea. And just as a grain of wheat must die to bring forth much fruit, I died to myself. With that, my inner demon in the name of depression died as well.

Today, America celebrates the Independence Day. After a long battle against Covid, which is still ongoing around the world, to be able to hold a celebration of fireworks and gathering of people is more special than ever. It suddenly hits me that I, too, shall celebrate my own personal victory of gaining freedom. I must celebrate and declare this as a day I became independent of my debilitating depression. 

After many forms of uprooting, here I am in this forest-like setting, hearing the chirping of the morning birds, deeply breathing in the fresh scent of the early summer breeze, I feel the sun spilling through the openings of my thick tree branches. FLOWERS & GARDEN, my favorite flower pot reads. In it is my mix of humble flowers of the wild in the English country. Every time I meditate on it, my thoughts arrive at the Garden of Eden where once a human enjoyed God’s presence in its entirety. I am reminded that we all are journeying back to that Garden. That is what this human journey is about. That ultimate knowledge made a whole difference to me. All of the confusing puzzle pieces found their home to reveal the big picture. It’s a picture of a dream that we must hold dear. Our reunion with God is the only thing that will explain the pains and sufferings we go through while in this world. Without that clear purpose, our human lives will be lost in the middle. My life was almost lost because I did not know the purpose of God for me, and for the whole humanity. 

And so, on this independence day, I hope many will celebrate also our independence from satan, the dark power that still governs this incomplete world. Even though satan still rules, it is only for the time being. We know that our God has won the battle. We have the privilege of joining in the battle that God has already won in winning the souls. Little by little and hand in hand, we will all get there. 

Happy 4th! 

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