I was planting violets and creepers in boxes on a sunny day of the early summer, when a dismal thought occurred to me: After this spring, I may not be able to do springtime planting more than about twenty times in my lifetime. I tried to find consolation in the fact that I do not even love planting particularly. But that was small comfort that did not brighten up my depressed mind! This small incident suggested two things that I would like to write about: gardening and the shortness of human life.
I can still not prepare the foundation of a flower bed properly. I also find it difficult to create a composition that would have some flowering plants throughout the summer, would have lower plants at the front than at the back, would have a balanced palette of colors and still be attractive, would not wither easily, would not be too much hard work, and would not grow on one side only or invade the lawn. And the flowers should be of nice shape, not like bottlebrushes. Overall, the whole idea of a flower bed seems stressful to me.
Snow melted late this spring, and it seemed summer would never come. But suddenly everything exploded into life, and thanks to our light nights, we began to catch up with the southern parts of the country incredibly fast.
We therefore started working on our vegetable garden and yard in good time. But we had to reschedule things when a storm fell down the large birch tree by our front door and cut off the top of another tree. I could not help wondering how much taller the storm-ravaged tree would grow during our lifetime…
Then, after the long period of seclusion due to the covid-19 pandemic, we finally had some of our older children at home. We went to buy seedlings and worked in the garden long into the night. It seemed to have a good impact on all of us. I began to understand some of the real significance of gardening. It allows you to dig and plant and water and dream of growth and successful outcomes. And to do all that together with others!
The girls told me about the beautiful linden trees that grow on their home street in Jyväskylä in central Finland. Lindens grow even here in Tervola in southern Lapland, though our vegetation zone is not very generous otherwise. We added linden saplings to our shopping list.
On the planting day, one of the girls was charged with planting the lindens. I supplied the soil and water that she needed. The hole we had dug was large enough, and the planting seemed to go well. We just needed to check something on the Internet. When I came back with a cart load of soil, she read with an amused smile: “For the first few years the saplings grow quite slowly. After about 20 years, growth becomes faster up to the age of 60 years. The tree reaches its full size at about 150 years. The estimated average age of lindens is 200–250 years.”
We ended up wondering why human life is so short, while trees live so much longer.
I have somehow lost my ability to enjoy things that are right here right now. I am overwhelmed by the idea of the shortness of human life. I wonder, quite unnecessarily, what things I will have to give up when my temporal life comes to an end.
Whenever such disturbing thoughts invade my mind, I find consolation in Paul’s first letter to Timothy: “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.”
How could I internalize this? That everything is a gift. That even faith is a gift. And ultimately it is only faith that matters. And how could I understand, if only imperfectly, that even the most beautiful tree or magnificent dahlia is nothing compared to God’s heaven!
But all the while endeavoring down here on earth, we continue gardening. We planted coral bells in our garden to commemorate our coral wedding anniversary. While following their growth, we can think about our own life, all our blessings and all our causes for gratitude.
The Finnish writer Toivo Pekkanen wrote: ”Life is a fleeting moment. Years roll by quickly, and old age is upon us before we see it coming. People covet for so many things and waste the golden days of their lives. Some crave for riches, some for power, yet some others for glory and high stature. But when they are close to death and look back at their lives, they find they were only happy when they loved.”
Text: Hanna-Maria Jurmu
Translation: Sirkka-Liisa Leinonen
You will find the original blog post here.
Oikeudessa puidaan pian sitä, mitä saa Suomessa uskonnonvapauden nimissä julkisesti sanoa. Samalla punnitaan kahden perusoikeuden, uskonnonvapauden ja sananvapauden suhdetta. Molemmat ovat Suomen perustuslain mukaan luovuttamattomia ja suojattuja oikeuksia.
Mikaelan perheessä ei paljon puhuta asioista. Tehdään töitä, käydään koulua. Mutta jossain pinnan alla on salaisuus, joka saa äidin hyräilemään surumielisesti ja Mikaelan silmäilemään tarkemmin muutamia nuoria koulun käytävillä ja ruokalassa.
Annika Koivukankaan runoissa heittäydytään nuoren elämän aallokkoon, sen iloihin ja kipuihin, koettelemuksiin ja arjen suloiseen turvaan – kun on usko, johon nojata ja rinnalla saattajia. Syviä tuntoja keventää raikas huumori: ”Kunpa voisin asettua hetkeksi koiran turkkiin. / Tuntea sen lämmön / karkumatkojen tuoksun / ja myllätyn kukkapenkin ilon. Paijaavia sormia riittäisi.”
Kahdeksanvuotias Nalle Karhunen on kuusivuotiaan Nupun eli Omenaposken viisas, kiltti ja hellä isoveli. Joskus Nalle käyttäytyy kuin talviuniltaan herätetty hurja ja äkkipikainen karhu. Silloin Nupun on parasta lähteä ulos tai laittaa oman huoneen ovi visusti kiinni.
Kirjoittajat eri puolilta maailmaa kertovat siitä, kuinka Jumala on johdattanut heidät valtakuntaansa. Kertomuksia yhdistää kokemus kotiinpaluusta, Raamatun mukaisen uskon löytymisestä ja uskovaisten välisestä rakkaudesta.