Weeds to Pull

by Dawn
North Carolina, USA

Several years ago we moved to North Carolina. My husband headed to his new job, and I remained behind to sell our house and arrange the move. During this stressful time there was one crisis after another, including a dear friend’s suicide.

Weeds to PullWhen I arrived at the new house I was exhausted and emotionally bankrupt. It was wonderful seeing my husband, but when he left for work I was so overwhelmed with the tasks ahead, I sat on the floor amongst the boxes and cried. As I plowed through unpacking, my spirits refused to lift.

One weekend we drove to check out a boat for sale. It wasn’t what we wanted, but “John”, the elderly gentleman selling it, was kind and we chatted. When I admired his beautiful rose garden he said it was his wife’s. She’d been away several weeks but would return the next day.

As I remembered my lovely garden left behind, a tall weed caught my eye. So his wife wouldn’t regret seeing it on returning, with John’s permission I pulled it.

Months passed but I couldn’t seem to find “my place” in our new community. I joined the local garden club but although the ladies were very kind, most were retired and had been friends for years. I didn’t feel part of the group.

As my depression grew deeper I drank to try and ease the pain. I felt this move had cost me everything: job, friends, happiness. One day, while totally miserable and pondering suicide, the telephone rang.

I’d stopped answering calls for weeks, but for some reason I picked up. A lady from the garden club had special native plants to give me, but had been ill and missed club meetings for months.

For some reason I started telling her my whole miserable saga — everything! I was embarrassed even as the words spilled out of my mouth but couldn’t stop. “Elaine” quietly listened, made no judgmental comments and said she would help. She promised to call every morning to get me back on track. She kept her word and called faithfully, being an encouraging friend, though ill and bedridden herself.

With Elaine’s positive comments I slowly progressed. One evening she invited my husband and I over for t ea. She was able to sit up, plus still had plants for me.

We started driving, yet some things seemed familiar. When we pulled in the drive at Elaine’s address my husband and I just sat quietly and looked at each other. There was the beautiful rose garden where I had pulled a giant weed!

Elaine and I still chat most mornings. With a twinkle in her eye she makes sure we thoroughly relish each and every joy that comes our way. She’s taught me so much through words and example — from surviving disappointments with dignity to gracefully accepting the changes of aging. I’ve helped her pull many more weeds from her garden and she continues to help me pull weeds from my soul.

Originally published as HeroicStories #584 on Jan 21, 2005

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