Tapping into Human Goodness

Dear Reader:

As much as the recent rains have dampened many types of outside vocations (construction/roofing) recreational activities, summer camps, and vacation plans….the garden has never looked this good in the ‘dog days’ of August!

Usually by now…most of the flowers and plants have ‘bit the dust’ and the other stragglers look like they are begging to be put out of their misery. But not this year….the garden is in full bloom….Supposedly South Carolina lies within the semi-tropical hemisphere…but I suspect…with the climate change…we have moved into a tropical/rain forestry hemisphere….and the plants love it!

I took a photo of Honey’s gift to me-my first garden statue….the St. Francis welcoming statue to the garden (title photo) –  because I came across a little book about his universally loved  prayer.

Of all the garden statues St. Francis (with the little bird on his shoulder) symbolizes the peace and harmony I want visitors to the garden to find and feel. “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace” (St. Francis.)

In Kent Nerburn’s small book (by the same name) he provides a beautiful metaphor  between the simplicity and complexity of human goodness according to St. Francis in his prayer. The book shows us how to  live in the spirit of the Prayer of Saint Francis.

 

 

 

Nerburn observes the metaphor between children’s thoughts and this basic, elemental prayer for everyone of every religion and spirituality. “When we try to understand God we are like children trying to hold sunlight in our hands. We recognize the presence of something ineffable and mysterious, but it always eludes our grasp.”

The Prayer of St. Francis “gives voice to our faith without asking us to turn our backs on those who have chosen other paths. It is so pure, so human, so universal in its expression, that no good-hearted person of any faith would stand against it.”

In the present world we live in, with growing bias, prejudice, and hatred targeted against gender, race, religion, and culture the prayer of St. Francis reminds us to look for that basic goodness in people, that link that connects us all as human…to remind ourselves that we are all One in God.

My Saint Francis Statue has definitely withstood the test of time and weathered the elements better than the other garden statues…but that doesn’t take away my love and appreciation of them and each precious story behind the gift.

 

Right behind the St. Francis statue (at the entrance to the garden gate) lies my “Rosemary Angel”– so named because she always sits right in the midst of a patch of rosemary… making her smell like the lovely herbal scent she dwells within.

 

 

 On the other side of the gate lies “Mr. Moon” (and yes, I do agree, Anne….he looks kinda creepy.) Since the gate was built, originally, as a moon gate, once covered in moon flowers…I thought it was appropriate to add him… but the old moon does seem to stay in a kind of “funk.” Smile Mr. Moon…the garden is a beautiful home for you!

 

Standing joyfully behind our solemn moon is “Bliss” (the little girl with two birds on her shoulders) who is eternally happy…even when the tall day lily stems engulf her during this late part of summer. Nothing makes her sad. (Thanks John and Mandy for this happy little statue-given to me at the opening of the grand garden exhibit)

 

 

A little farther behind Bliss is our little Irish boy statue holding a leprechaun  in his lap….leaning forward as if listening to the latest Irish tale about the “little people.” (Thanks Brookie for this little cutie)

 

 

Another little boy statue stands across from the little Irish boy statue…he is the “Fishing Boy.” Sadly he has deteriorated more than any other statue…I received him as a wedding gift. He used to have a fishing line with fish attached but these days he is doing good to stay upright. (I can definitely relate to this little statue…some days I feel like I have the same problem 🙂

 

I love my “Rebecca and the Pitcher” statue Jackson gave me as she cleaned out articles left over from the “1000 Year Flood” in Columbia …the natural disaster that took her home. The circumstances behind the gift make it even more special. I keep Rebecca near the fountain (so she won’t have so far to ‘walk’ to get water) with a little turtle close by to leave “Magical wishing pennies” available to one and all… to throw into the fountain.

As I sit each evening (weather permitting)…in the magic hour of sunset I look at all my statues, welcome signs, plaques, benches, and diverse foliage ….lost in remembrance of how each element of the garden arrived.

So until tomorrow….”If it takes a village to raise a child” then it must “Take a community (friends, family, and neighbors) to grow a garden.” Thank you, one and all, for your contributions to my sanctuary of peace, love, pardon, faith, hope, light, and joy.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*Since Mandy got sick earlier when the Turners went to Disney World (and they had some refunds available) they decided to squeeze one more family vacation in before school. Have fun Turners and everyone stay well!

*I “accidentally” tapped into a website called fairytale traveler...and it had the most enchanted looking real places around the world that appear like something out of a fairy tale…one just wants to jump into the photograph. The following picture is in Germany but I couldn’t track down any more information than that….isn’t it pure magic?

*And speaking of magical, imaginative places and scenes….look at Joan Turner’s (John’s mom) latest painting under ‘Drawing Freely with Imagination.’ Isn’t it adorable? Every child, alive, would want to jump into that picture and make friends with the animals!

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About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to Tapping into Human Goodness

  1. bcparkison says:

    I don’t think Mr. Moon is grumpy.To me he is smirking at the beauty of your garden as if ti say” See…I told you”.

    Like

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