Daily dose of sanity

Thank the good Lord for the beauty and love all around us, which comforts us in troubling times!

These past few weeks have been more than troubling. A man opens fire at a church, and another mows down scores of innocent concertgoers. The world grieves deeply, and our Holy Father grieves even more.

Then the name-calling and accusations start flying over whose fault it is, and who didn’t prevent the tragedies, and over what each other is supposedly thinking and feeling.

In society’s rush to make sense of the senseless, fingers are pointed. Those fingers are then wagged derisively at some who don’t agree with those who vehemently shout their “I told you so” rhetoric. Retaliatory insults are then lobbed in the opposite direction.

Even prayer has been derided as useless, as the godless hordes of “talking heads” demand action for the sake of action.

None of this endless blather will bring back those who died nor heal the injured.

Instead of watching this virtual train wreck on the news, some of us have turned to more uplifting subjects. In my case, it is the garden.

It used to be a daily habit of mine to post a garden photo every day on social media, labeled as a “Daily Dose of Sanity.” It seems more needed today than ever before!

The problem is, there is so little left in the garden as we come within a few days of the first expected frost date. It has become FAR more difficult to take a decent flower photo without the ravaged remains of dying plants, weeds, and decay in the background.

It needs to be noted that the search for goodness and beauty is sometimes its own reward. Any wholesome activity that draws us away from the ever-spiraling downward emotions caused by terrible events is worthwhile in their own right.

Much of the work in the garden from the fall equinox to its spring counterpart is just preparation for better days ahead. There is nothing glamorous or alluring about the work of digging out and moving shrubs or hauling off dead plants. There is no immediate satisfaction in planting bulbs.

However, the act of engaging in a hopeful activity does a lot to clear one’s head of the disturbing images and hurtful words. The physical labor involved helps to “blow off steam” when justifiable anger threatens to turn into sinful words or actions.

Whether you go to a gym, a pottery class, or a garden, the hope you build can be crucial to keeping a healthy mindset amidst negativity toward a Christian worldview. This is the true definition of sanity – a healthy mind!

Looking for – and finding – truth and beauty and love when they are most scarce is a way to keep hope alive.

There is still hope for a few more surprise blooms before the season is over.

Even in the darkest days between the fall and spring equinoxes, we are blessed with hope as we gather seeds and prepare for next year’s garden.

Without the garden, would there still be reason to hope? Much of the New Testament was written during some very dark days for Christians in the Roman Empire. And yet Christians are instructed to hope!

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13, NASB).

Let us not let the dark days cause us to lose hope. Look for your own “daily dose of sanity” in an insane and evil world.

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Christine (Tina) Berglund

Christine lives in middle Tennessee with her husband Gary, a.k.a. "The Yard Boy." They have served churches in eight states where Gary has preached full-time most of their married lives. The children have flown the nest, but they "baby" their plants now, and even get to visit grandchildren once in a while.

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