We are all tenders of some sort. There are those who tend themselves, and those who tend their possessions and gardeners, teachers, caregivers, ministers, mothers, missionaries and artists who tend the creative fire. Others tend corporations and the economy, government on all levels, public policy, welfare and safety. Some of us feed others literally, spiritually and metaphorically. Laborers work the line, stock the shelves, fix our cars and broken things. Secretaries tend their bosses, administrators keep their offices and institutions in line. And there is always someone who wants to sell us something.
We all seem to have a purpose.
I keep driving by a neighbor’s house, neat as a pin. She bought it a few years ago, installed new windows, replaced the roof, covered anything else exposed with maintenance-free composite planking, built a flowerbox abundantly planted with lush flowers and keeps a productive garden. Not a weed or mulch particle out of place. Sometimes, I am envious when I think about our poor box gutter languishing in anticipation of our worth-waiting-for contractor, the mole hills in our lawn that’s less grass and more violets and the long to-do list.
Until I recognize what I tend: relationships, though not always so well. I have spent much of the summer with my girls traveling and attending weddings, but also preparing one to enter high school and the other to begin college courses and learn to drive. Today, as a matter of fact, I am preparing to tend up to 16 fourth to sixth graders tomorrow. Actually, my oldest is leading the activity, but I have helped her work through it, cut and sewn many of the super-hero capes, sent out post cards with a personal note to each child, called each one’s home with a reminder, arranged transportation and smiled each time I think of these special kids. In some circles they aren’t so special: a rag tag bunch who lives in the city’s only subsidized housing for families, most with a single parent, multiple siblings, little income and not enough to eat. They’re working the welfare system, some people say. “I fought to keep the projects out of the neighborhood,” a departed neighbor used to complain.
I find that the people with the poorest opinions of these families have never had a personal encounter with any of them. If they did, they would see what I and so many others involved with Artsy Fartsy Saturdays see: warm, generous, eager, creative and bright kids attempting to live as normal a life as possible sans many of the amenities the rest of us enjoy. My family, neighbors and faith community help tend these wonderful families in such a variety of ways.
I don’t wish to demean what anyone else is called to tend. Frankly, it’s a blessing we all have different gifts, callings and interests. How else would we function as community?
My wonderful monthly archetypal astrology group helped me see this gift of tending relationships. I wasn’t particularly aware of it and often lamented what I didn’t get to, but now understand.
So my house and yard are less than perfect. My heart is full, spirit blessed and purpose satisfied.
• What do I tend?
• What are my gifts in that direction?
• How do I respect others and their gifts?
• How do I discern my gifts?
• How do I credit Spirit for them or espress my gratitude?
her house is
me every time
I drive by
a thing of beauty
on darker days,
it reminds me
of the untapped
until I realize
her gifts are
and I am tending
as beautiful to
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