People will smile and call me “Flower Child,” though I’m 80, when they see the floral wreath atop my ancient Subaru. Why? they ask. Because it makes me happy, I say, and I hope it makes you happy too. We connect – perhaps a child, a truck driver, a fellow gardener.
My husband, Jerry and I are New Yorkers, but when he retired twelve years ago, we became “snow birds” in Tarpon Springs to winter near his family. After 56 years of marriage, Jerry died in New York last September and I moved permanently to our Florida home. I lost not only the love of my life, but wise friends and neighbors of 40 years, my Franciscan Spiritual Director, a vibrant church community, my many gardens and my Spiritual Home, Mount Saviour Benedictine Monastery. I have been an oblate there for all those 40 years.
Grateful for my countless blessings, I know God is emptying me to make more room for God. But what does this mean? I grieve and grieve deeply. Jesus is ever more with me now though I have followed His way all my life. Now the Spirit is calling me in my dawn meditations out of my darkness and my Valley of the Shadow. I trust, I wonder and I follow.
Three days ago, the Spirit led me to Holy Name. Truly a haven for this searching soul. The Sisters’ warm welcome, the prayerful chapel, the flourishing roses and aquaponic greenhouse, the privilege of my hands in the soil. At last, at last the welcome to weed God’s gardens, to care for the earth amid the calls of the wood storks, the smell of the newly mowed meadow, the celestial starlight. And on top of all these gifts, Sister Miriam has agreed to be my Spiritual Director. I will return monthly and see where this new journey leads me. Deo Gratias!
Judith Grant – August 2018