Thursday, May 17, 2012

To everything...turn, turn, turn...

(This song is #134 on my playlist.   I have autoplay turned off again, but if you want to listen to it while you read this, just scroll all the way down to the bottom of my blog, select song 134, and hit the forward arrow)

There is a season
turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven.

It took me a long time to find a purpose for the heart numbing loss I felt when I moved away from my old farmstead.

I threw away calendar after calendar trying to make sense of all those years of pain. I carried my anguish with me so constantly that the passage of years began to not matter. The only thing that mattered was the isolation the torment of my memories created.

I lost my joy…and in the process I put aside many things I loved to focus on focus on trying not to feel anything. Allowing myself to feel meant I allowed myself to be open to pain.

turn, turn, turn

I didn’t paint. I didn’t write. I didn’t garden. My guitar gathered dust along with friendships that were once important. I feared that all the creativity and happiness inside me had withered and died. I feared that doing things I once loved with people I once cared about would make me feel even worse.

So I hid inside myself in panic of being diminished into even more broken and brittle pieces…

…certain in the contest of life suffering, I would at least be awarded a bronze medal.

I lamented where I felt forced to live.

Green trees to cactus…lush gardens to arid landscaping…fireflies to nights devoid of any flicker of bliss.

Until I finally grew so weary of and so sick of my own misery that it at last became time to gather my stones together

… to make a garden. My season of grief was finally coming to an end.

I planted seeds and watched them wither and die in the intense desert heat.

My gardens failed.

I planted again.

And felt myself turn, turn, turning toward despair.

How could I live in a place with no cleansing summer rains? With heat so awful it melted my shoes? With so many people everywhere that there was no air left for me to breathe?

turn, turn, turn

I forced myself to ask for help and learned how to plant seeds in the desert.

A time to build up
A time to break down
A time to dance
A time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together.

In spite of advice to the contrary, I tried planting all the things I loved and missed from my Ohio gardens…the lilacs, the larkspur, and the peonies. They withered and died.

Finally, with little hope of success I threw a packet of zinnia seeds into my little garden.

I watered them and they sprouted.

Ironically, I had always tried to grow zinnias in Ohio, but after their first bloom they would become sickly and the plants would die.

I had little hope for my tender zinnia seedlings, but I continued to water and fertilize them until one glorious day they burst into technicolor bloom.

I cut them and they bloomed again. And again!

I filled old pottery jugs with their bounty. To me there is nothing happier than a big bouquet of crayon colored zinnias.

As time passed, I learned to grow other things in the desert…luscious tomatoes and sweet, sweet onions, spires of hollyhock and tender-faced pansies, but always a large part of every garden was devoted to the cheerful brightness of zinnias.

To everything…
turn, turn, turn
There is a season
turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven.

There is no expiration date on grief…

No timetable to finding our purpose again.

And when grief and sadness come to visit next, as they surely will, I will remind my heart that one day I will be able to gather zinnia blossoms again into a bright bouquet of delight.

And I will, again…

Turn, turn, turn…

This is my final post in the Farmstead series for Alphabe-Thursday.  

Z is for Zinnias.   To read other Z posts, just click here.

I've often written that the telling begins the healing.  Writing this little series really helped me focus on how far I've come since those years.  I still miss that glorious house...but someday I will live in a place like that again.  "Stories don't mean anything, if you've got no-one to tell them to..."   Thank you for indulging my little sentimental journey here. 
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myletterstoemily said...

is it all right if i just call you "zinnia?"
this is an inspiring story to keep
trying and keep turning.

Ms. A said...

Thank YOU, Jenny, for writing so beautifully, regardless of the topic. Even your time of sadness is inspiring.

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

Oh Jenny,

I can so relate to this. Grief really doesn't have an expiration date, but we can turn around and move away a little...

I am so sad to see this series end, I have truly enjoyed every single installment!



Terra said...

Jenny, how beautiful that zinnias helped you get your joy back. They bloom with very delightful colors and meanwhile you are blooming in your desert home.

Sandy said...

Oh Jenny....Thank you for sharing this all with us....and I agree I love zinnias too and they do so good here, don't they?
Here is a big HUG!!!!!

Love, Sandy

Splendid Little Stars said...

So many seasons in a life! Just turn and there's another one. Thankfully, sadness (or despair) doesn't last.
Surprisingly there's often joy among the sadnesses of life.
I'm glad you gathered stones and planted...zinnias!
I have thoroughly enjoyed your beautiful writing in this Farmhouse series!

Splendid Little Stars said...

PS: I love this song!

Betty (picture circa 1951) said...

Oh shoot...I didn't realize you were already up to the letter Z. Are you going to start it all over again?

I enjoyed your stories about the farm house. I'm glad you got those zinnias to grow!

anitamombanita said...

I love that song. It holds many great memories of my younger years...and a lot of truth. It also reminds me of my dad...although not a religious man in the comment sense, his favorite scriptures in the bible came from Ecclesiastes, from where the lyrics came. But I had to turn the music off. I wanted to read your compelling final words on the farm without distraction. Jenny, thanks for sharing this tale of hurt and healing so beautifully. You have a true gift with the pen (keyboard, whatever..).

LuLu Kellogg said...

Ohhhhh that song is one of my faves!


Naperville Now said...

This was so sad and so beautiful. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

Ms Sparrow said...

The act of nurturing something is life-affirming. No wonder it helped to bring you back to your creativity.
What a nice story!

It's All Connected said...

I'm sorry for your hurt, Jenny. When everything we thought we knew and loved is turned upside down, it can be a long road back.You made it back and came to us full of heart and wisdom. I'll miss that old farmstead, too!

Nezzy (Cow Patty Surprise) said...

Thank the Lord for Zinnias girl!

Guess what...this is gonna surprise ya...I'm singin'...I KNOW!!! I told ya it would surprise ya! Heeehehe!

God bless ya my friend!!!

Farmer's Wyfe said...

How sweet a little thing like zinnias can be when you just need that one turn of hope. :) I just bought my first packet of zinnias to try growing the other day. I think they will remind me of your story. :)

Allie said...

I love you more than ants love picnics! I am so proud of you and blessed to have you as my cousin. And the cherished memories of you and that guitar! I love you more than ants love picnics .. just in case you didn't hear me the first time.

Annesphamily said...

Hi Jenny! I love the way you writing. It is fu of exciting possibilities always and you should be out there in this ole world helping others write as well as you. You have such a wonderful art for writing. Thanks and enjoy the weekend.

pasqueflower said...

Beautiful post, Jenny! Your zinnias are beautiful. And I could hear the sweet melody of Turn, Turn, Turn in my head as I read your post.

Bloom where you are (trans)planted.


Anonymous said...

I know of what you speak. I've been there too. Healing in the telling? Maybe some. Time: also some. Making a new life and planting zinnias: an awesome lift to the spirit. Sunshine and eventually happy thoughts: bonus but everything passes eventually.

Happy thoughts, Jenny.

Melinda Cornish said...

this brought me to do know what it is like to grieve and you captured it...but you also end with hope and sometimes that is all we have until the cloud of grief passes over....I need zinnias......

Busy Bee Suz said...

Oh you...this is beautifully written right from the heart. YOUR heart.
Glorious and bittersweet.....loved it.

Cathy said...

I love multi-layered writing and this post has more layers than a wedding cake... :)

Sue said...

So, so lovely, Jenny. In every way.
I am really sorry to see this series end.

(And somehow, your words today made me want to hear the rest of your story about Pearl.)


Catherine Love said...

Zinnias were my grandma's favorite flower and I plant them every year ... beautiful post, Jenny.


Andy David said...

My dear, sweet Jenny,
I have accompanied you on this emotional roller-coaster and yet again, you tug at my heartstrings. I feel as if I have come to know you a little better from these posts. I admire you greatly and everything you have striven to achieve. Thank you for allowing us to share in your journey. I know it was not easy at times, but you have shown your strength, courage & humility. Life is a journey that begins with our birth and as we age, we travel along to our ultimate destination. May you find peace and comfort for the remainder of your days. I love flowers...must be the romantic in me (smile). Wishing you the best always Jenny. Thanks for sharing this candid story.

Moonlight Zephyr

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