Achoo! I should have worn a mask. I really should. But I didn't and now I'm sneezing. Pollen. Nasty stuff. Oh, the season for pine pollen has passed here in South Mississippi but I've been digging in old dirt in my container garden and the pollen is still right there on the surface or slightly below it.
I've been out in the garden for most of the last two hours, perhaps a little longer than I should have been, but I was working on more than just the garden: I was trying to get some stress out of my system, and I was grumbling.
Lately more than one friend has taken their stress out on me because they say that they think I "can take it" and they insist that their cruel words "don't mean anything" and that I "shouldn't take personally." Well, darn it, if you say something unkind to me then it IS personal, and it hurts.
Get a punching bag if you want to lash out! Or go dig in a garden. Do something constructive if you can. But don't get destructive with other human beings just because you're having a bad day.
Years ago, my mother and I agreed that we needed to improve on our relationship for the good of us both. And we came up with some rules that really worked for us and brought us much closer together:
- Being upset does Not give you carte blanche to say whatever you want. Instead of taking frustration out on the other person, say that you feel upset, that you feel cross, that you feel angry. Explain what is going on but Don't accuse or blame. Give the other person a chance to listen to you so that there is understanding between you.
- If you are the listener, respond with kindness. Say as little as you must.
- Only one person at a time gets to have a bad day. Yes, both of you may feel awful about something but handle one problem at a time, and be respectful.
But, as with anything else, the only place you can start is with yourself. That's why I don't yell back. I really believe what the Bible teaches: that a soft answer turns away wrath, that we shouldn't return evil for good, that only God is has the right to take revenge. And I remember what my mother taught me: God has no hands but ours, and Jesus has no face but ours. It's important to show that properly to other people; to take responsibility for ourselves by behaving honorably and kindly.
You know what? It's not that hard to be nice. I'd really like to be treated as though I'm a person of value who is worthy of consideration, although I'm unlikely ever to ask for it.
And now that I'm done grumbling, let me say that it was really pleasant to be outside getting a tiny amount of order in my container garden. I discovered that my garlic chives are still as lively as ever five years on. I did a little clearing, and I found enough good soil to fill five pots. So I planted sage, cilantro, radishes, banana peppers, and sweet red peppers.
The seeds were quite old but they've been in the freezer. Hopefully some of them will be viable. I'm saying my prayers and hoping for the best.
But, alas, all is not well in the New Garden. Some creature with clever little diggy-paws has had a go at the Three Sisters mounds I was starting. I feel fairly sure that the corn and sunflower seeds became somebody's supper. The critter also knocked down a tomato cage but the plants seem okay. There are a number of little green tomatoes getting started so I can still hope for the best for them.
Anyway, I feel better. I dug (and sneezed!). I did something good. I didn't yell at anybody (although I did just share my frustration with you, and I hope you didn't mind). And I've just had a glass of fresh lemonade that I made with one of my good neighbor's lovely Meyer lemons.
Life is good.
Remember to keep it sweet.
Someone near you needs it.