As regular readers know, many of us here at Godspace love gardens, and enjoy partnering with God in the process of helping nature bloom and thrive in our small plots of land. For a disabled person like me, unable to do any real gardening, my limited time outside has taken on a different form. It started as a seed of contemplation a few years ago, became a love of photography, and then both those things sprouted into a daily blog and thence into the leaves of a paperback book.
I spent some time each day prayerfully considering something I’d seen in a garden, mostly in the tiny one at the back of our rented home, or in my parent’s larger one when I went to stay, thinking about what it spoke to us of its creator. I found the most magical truths came out of these times: scriptural metaphors, such as a sparrow swooping under the watchful eye of God, or the clothing of lilies in splendour; scientific discoveries, like the fact that a snail can rebuild its shell when it is broken, or that a shield bug goes through several different instars or incarnations before reaching adulthood, and most of all, deep, resonating wonder at the sheer inventiveness and beauty all around us. Previously unconsidered items like compost heaps and barbecues, hoses and bird droppings, became food for thought and meditation. To my surprise, they yielded still more fruit for pondering.
I began to write them down, one source of inspiration each day. I loved creating poetic prose to go alongside my photographs of nature, and felt God prompting me to continue and to keep digging deeper in his rich soil. The results of my labour were not your usual gardening fare; no vegetables, herbs or flowerbeds sprang up. Instead, a book of 365 meditations was germinating. After roping in photographer friends and searching painstakingly through copyright free sites to make sure each entry had an apposite image to accompany it, the job of editing, pruning and proofreading began. After several years’ work, this Garden of God’s Heart is now ready to be picked off the shelf, and eaten with glee.
I hope very much that readers will savour the words and pictures that can take them through a whole year of devotions, and find it is a treasure trove of a book, saturated with love for God and all his creations, including the smallest and most overlooked things, right in front of our noses. I hope too you will enjoy this little taster….
Day Sixteen: Ladybird
The scarlet and the black, your priestly cloak holds tight to cased layers of petticoat-wings, made of the finest dark lace. Your Catholic credentials borne further aloft by your association with Our Lady and the holy names you carry: our Good Lord’s wee beastie (lieveheersbeestje), Moses’ little cow, little messiah, Lady’s bird. Wrapped in Mary’s red cloak and decorated by her seven sorrows, you fall from a thorny crown of rose briars like a drop of blood shed for us.
A Cardinal, crimson carrier of insect incense, you waft cheerfully up and away like a hovering brooch; terror of the aphid, protector of the rose, defender of the faith, leopard of the garden skies, emblem of my early childhood reading, friendly-faced defier of fire in nursery rhymes, up, up and away you zoom, my imagination soaring with you.
Extract from Garden of God’s Heart by Keren Dibbens-Wyatt, photo by kfjmiller on morguefile.com
“Garden of God’s Heart is a delightful collection of meditations from an English country garden. I love Keren’s poetic prose which invites us into the contemplation of God’s beautiful creation in fresh and insightful ways. Each phrase holds treasures of understanding that lingered on my tongue and in my thoughts, beckoning me to dig deeper and enter the Garden of God’s Heart. A refreshing and enjoyable book, not just for those who love gardens, but anyone whose senses are stirred by the fragrance of a flower or the beauty of a tree. ”
Christine Sine, author of “To Garden with God,” contemplative and gardener.
Garden of God’s Heart has a Foreword by Jen Rees Larcombe, is published by Migiwa Press and is available to buy at Amazon, Lulu and Barnes & Noble.