Rust and Ivy

This world is a gargantuan metropolis scarred with steel skyscrapers reaching to the sky and rusted bike racks clawing the ground. The vista is cold. Metallic. Cruel to anything not factory made or assembly line produced, it’s a grimy grey world with some flourishes of rust. How could anything grow here?

But deep within my heart it’s a different kind of world. If you vault the crumbly brick walls, slip past the weathered gate, and find your way through the twisty and wandering paths, you’ll find a garden. Delicate wisps of green, pulsating with life’s heartbeat, and the only metal in sight are the trellises that the ivy has draped itself across. It may be full of flaws, but it’s growing.

I have been thinking of the potential juxtaposition and disjointedness between the garden of one’s soul and the metallic metropolis of the physical world outside one’s self. The rusted metal of the outer world is always trying to melt into and sear the life out of the inner garden. Growing things are tender, full of life yet easily crushed. And I’m afraid. Afraid of my garden becoming a metal jungle if I’m not careful. Afraid of watching the metal melting over the flowers, assembly lines usurping the willows, lead weighing down the vines and bringing them sagging to the ground.

I don’t want to lose my garden to this metal world. I instead want to have such a lovely and vibrant garden within me that it no longer can stay safe behind the gate. I want the tendrils of ivy to grow into the outer metropolis. I want to plant saplings on the rooftops and violets along the window sills. But for a garden to grow into the outside world of metal, it needs to be brave. It needs to be strong enough to take root in between metal bars and make a home in the foreign realm of creaking fire escapes and weathered manhole covers.

But how does a fragile garden of cherry blossoms and curling ferns become so strong? It’s not in self-reliance, for how can a blossom be so brave? It’s in finding its strength from a source outside itself. I choose to make my garden great with the soil of God’s written whispers. With the rain of His Presence. With the fertilizer of those who also seek His face. With the shivering winds of delight that come with His smile. And then my garden will become a wondrous thing. And it will grow over the gate, curling inside the keyhole, winding its way into the rusting metropolis, bringing the cold world outside a green heart beating life. A garden in my heart, a garden in this world.

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