Buried Alive

A spring garden always looks a little worse for wear with the residue of winter weeds and fallen leaves. Even the exuberance of the calla lilies is a bit too much with green elephant ears flopping this way and that, spilling over used brick retaining walls, entangling my ankles as I dead head spent blooms. And the grassy weeds and too tall dandelions that flourish in pavement cracks discouragement me. As a fair weather gardener, after a long winter, two weeks of vacation, and the full-galloping arrival of spring, it never ceases to amaze me how quickly nature reasserts itself when left unattended, especially in the paved over and cemented parts.

French philosopher, paleontologist, geologist and Jesuit priest Teilhard de Chardin said we don’t dust to brighten things up, we dust  to keep from being buried alive. I’ll say amen to that since it’s weeding relevant as well. So under gray skies that promised rain which never arrived, I spent Saturday in the cool of the garden raking, weeding, and pruning the excesses of nature. Even though my ham strings are still squealing at me, all day I did the work I love.  This morning I patrolled the garden and still see much to be done, but major portions of the garden look attended to – weeds pulled, leaves raked and removed, plants thinned and more artfully defined. The beauty of impending blooms more evident. The garden and I are enjoying a moment of mutual aliveness. 

Alas, since I’m a fair weather gardener, that unburied aliveness is not likely to last. Not unless I develop a routine, disciplined attentiveness to the garden that cultivates a love for caring for it – in season and out. I’m hoping to more fully cultivate that same vigilant, loving attentiveness in my spiritual life – attending to the weeds in the cracks, raking up dead leaves that don’t nourish to my soil/soul, thinning the areas of excess, ruthlessly pruning the parts that will allow more flowering and fruit bearing. How about you?

Are there areas of your life where you feel buried alive? What are the weeds and fallen leaves that need to be attended to? Are there excesses that need to be thinned? If you were to do some judicious pruning, what might flower in your life? What fruit might you bear? If you were to paint pictures of your garden before and after, what would they look like?

How would you answer “all day I did the work I love…..”?

Looking forward to hearing about your gardens – spiritual and otherwise.

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7 comments to Buried Alive

  • love the metaphor, love the phrase, ‘all day I did the work I love’! I feel expanded from reading this post!

  • cynthia thomas

    my garden is almost in order. i moved to a retirement home last fall. the move required that i dramatically down-sized my possessions. i sold or gave away about half of my sewing & craft supplies. this was the dust that was burying me alive, literally. i had accumulated for many years. much of what i had i considered treasures. but so many treasures made it very difficult for me to find anything. there was just too much stuff! after getting my new home organized, my first order of business was to learn the names & faces of 140 new people. then, i changed medical insurance to the nearest docs & hospital. most recently, i found a new church that i believe will meet my needs as well as nourish me. i will become a member of that church this sunday. in february, i committed to several other sewing friends that for 3 months, i will not buy any new clothes or fabric at traditional stores. i can only shop at thrift stores, yard sales, or my stash. i can also receive gifts of fabric or clothes to recycle. for me, this is like keeping up on the weeding of my garden. it has been a boost to my creativity in some ways. i’ve found substitutes for items i didn’t have. & i find that i’m enjoying what i do have. i’ve even used a few things that have been hanging out in my studio for years. cynthia

  • Dana Thompson

    I am also weeding. I am getting out from under boxes of files belonging to our homeowners water company. I have finally retired from the board of directors, and I am sorting, organizing, and consolidating the files that I will turn over to the next President. The extra copies and no longer needed papers are being recycled. It is not the work I love, but the accomplishment is satisfying. When done, my dinning room (water company office) will be back to normal, and I will have more time for sewing and the garden.


  • Deanna J Bowling

    Two thoughts –

    Bible study helps me clean out my “spiritual garden”. The concepts I can come up with as to what scripture means are many. Studying in a group with my pastor as the facilitator of the studies helps we “clean up my garden”.

    I am good at making order out of disorder, most of the time. I am currently helping our church Office Manager with an ongoing accumulation of paperwork, by shredding documents that have been deemed by those in the know to no longer be required. At one time some of the papers were liken to living, vital leaves on the trees that did their job well. Now the same papers are liken to dead leaves that are shed by the trees, and on the ground, that if left there will hurt the trees themselves as well as the other plants in the garden flourish.


    I sort of feel “buried alive” lately as I sort through boxes of slides. I’m basically looking for people. Then I scan them into my computer where I can forward a few to our kids, nieces, cousins, or friends. The process is bringing back many great and happy memories.

  • Great image. Been physically weeding a bit around our house last week or so and also been thinking about doing some weeding in my spiritual life. I find that I need to weed around the house soon after a rain, makes it much easier. Our ground gets hard fast so even if I wait a day or two, it’s much harder to grab the entire weed, roots and all. Same thing in my spiritual life, if I let a sin or bad habit get grounded and don’t attend to it quickly after I’ve been softened by prayer and worship, then it’s much harder to pull when I’ve allowed my ground to get hard and used to the weeds. I am always amazed though how worship functions like rain and softens my heart to attend to my sin. Thanks Lynne, you always help my perspective!

  • Martha Jane

    I feel almost buried alive at the moment. (Fancy that you should write about it and ask about it at this time!) We are redoing our basement; it is in total chaos. My husband is basically a pack rat and with the “earthquake” of re-arrangement there, all kinds of stuff have surfaced. Some of it is mine, granted, and I have attempted to organize “my stuff.” We both are trying to downsize- “prune” – our journals and books and give them to flea markets and people (like seminaries) who may want the written items. It seems the more we uncover and give away, the more rise up and announce themselves! It’s very discouraging.
    I’m also aware of how I overflow with distractions: projects, ideas for projects (writing or art making), and domestic items to fix, put away, and clear out in our home. An immediate domestic project is putting away winter clothes and bedding, and bringing out cooler items. At times I feel not only “buried” but “scattered.”
    We’ve been here 11 years. We want to face our more declining future years with a simpler life! I hope the new “garden” will be harmonious and shine with a beautiful and orderly simplicity.

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