Tuesday, July 29

garden friends*

em & tara, canon digital rebel xti

In my early twenties, every Tuesday night I would hang out at an old abandoned fire house. Inside were about four velvety vintage couches placed side by side in the shape of a half moon; purple, red, orange and green along with big silky pillows covering the concrete floor. People of all genres sat snuggled up together sipping their coffees and sodas, listening intently. The cool guy standing to face the crowd looked a cross between a surf dude and a GQ model with his VW bus parked outside. It was a non-denominational gathering where folks that were turned off by organized religion but curious about an intimate relationship with God felt they belonged. There were lots of tattoos and piercings and bohemians and rebels. I was one of those people.

There was one story that the minister (who didn't seem like a minister but was one of us) told that I will never forget. He talked about how Jesus used to take a few of his most trusted friends to the Garden of Gesthemane to lay down his heart, be honest, raw and vulnerable. A place where He felt safe to spill and be transparent. Our minister named those friends "Garden Friends" and he went on to ask us to think about who the Garden Friends in our life were.

I recall each of us scanning the room, looking around at our friends. Some even closed their eyes to imagine all the faces, the friends in their life. One of my guy friends, after the night was over ran up to me, hugged me, twirled me around and said "YOU'RE my garden friend!!!" I mean, it was just the coolest concept and an analogy we could all resonate with.

Who are the friends we feel comfortable with to bring to our garden? Who do you trust with all of your heart to be safe and gentle with you throughout your journey?

Its something to really meditate on. I think it is so very important to be aware of who your garden friends are so that you can nurture those very sacred relationships. I feel the word garden so perfectly describes friendship and the idea that in order for there to be growth, it must be nourished and cared for, consistently. And when we put our energies into our friendship garden, watch the gorgeous blooms, the nectar, the beauty that springs forth within us.

Who are your garden friends?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is really lovely...and to think I found your blog through a bit of a "garden friend". :)

Looking forward to reading more.

July 29, 2008 at 5:15:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lovely. one of the things i love most about your words and photos is the deep for your friends that shines through.

July 29, 2008 at 5:43:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Georgia said...

Oh! Thank you thank you for posting this! For so many reasons...

I have always had such a hard time finding those people... those garden friends, until recently, and then I discovered some of the most amazing people I have ever known in my entire life. Thank you internet! I am finally going to be able to meet some of them this September!

I love this.


July 29, 2008 at 5:54:00 PM PDT  
Blogger christianne said...

i LOVE this story. that firehouse sounds like an earthy, raw, real place . . . just the kind of place me and my hub would love! it makes me smile to imagine it, the couches and the edginess and the pastor who was just an ordinary guy who loved jesus.

thanks for sharing this, denise. i'm thankful for my garden friends, and i'm also thankful jesus is the kind of person who is all about the real, the edgy, and the raw alternatives in life.

July 29, 2008 at 7:20:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Lori Duncan said...

Oh, by reading this, it made me long for some of my garden friends from the past. Thanks for the reminder. I love your writing. Thanks

July 29, 2008 at 8:23:00 PM PDT  
Blogger all over the map said...

what a beautifully written post.
nurturing is so important.

July 29, 2008 at 9:45:00 PM PDT  
Blogger emily said...

i'm looking forward to meeting some garden friends at squam...

July 30, 2008 at 4:59:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that description...is so perfect. A place to feel safe to spill, be transparent...raw.
I have friends-but then I have those intimate friends, with whom I can anything-without fear of judgement... Knowing that i'll still be embraced with the same warm arms. My garden friends are few and far between-and while it's important for me to have these people in my life, it's more important for me to be a garden friend in someone else's...
This is beautiful-you...are most definitely a garden friend of people.

July 30, 2008 at 5:38:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Rowena said...

This is a lovely post and a lovely concept, but it makes me feel kind of sad.

I have had so many of those garden friends over the course of my life, but I have found that they have all moved on and moved away at this juncture, as have I.

They are still out there, most of them, somewhere, but long distance is not the same. Building those kind of friendships is so much harder when you are the mom of two very little kids.

I have faith that the "gardening" will come again, though

July 30, 2008 at 8:23:00 AM PDT  
Blogger CelticBuffy said...

Awesome post. I have one garden friend and that would be my sister. I wish I had a couple more in my life but maybe that will come down the road.

July 30, 2008 at 9:04:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

I'm a friend of Em's and you really did a great job with these photos!


July 30, 2008 at 9:09:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Liz said...

beautiful, beautiful story, and thoughts, thanks so very very much for your garden friends story, made my day a little more wonderful...

July 30, 2008 at 10:09:00 AM PDT  
Blogger nap girl said...

this is wonderful, denise, thank you!

July 30, 2008 at 12:45:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Sleepandhersisters said...

Thanks for the memory...

I think I am still to find my garden friends...


July 30, 2008 at 2:39:00 PM PDT  
Blogger ~Michelle~ said...

Garden Friends, what a beautiful term and concept! xoxo

July 30, 2008 at 3:39:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh denise...more breath holding....

July 30, 2008 at 3:49:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been reading em's blog for alittle while now,and just found you..
Sounds like there are garden friends waiting to be found!!
I think i have a couple of friends that are becoming garden friends..
Sounds like a great place that firehouse..
I feel very comfortable here, look forward to sharing our thoughts..
Lorraine uk

July 30, 2008 at 3:52:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love this idea. sadly i've often thought i had those friends but it always seemed that the ones i considered friends, even the closest of friends, took advantage of me. i tend to give too much of myself and these "friends" certainly took what i was giving. my husband would definitely be a garden friend, as would my sister and my mom but i feel like my garden needs more people in it, it's a pretty big garden after all :)

July 30, 2008 at 7:05:00 PM PDT  
Blogger meghan said...

I am sitting here looking at a photograph that was taken in the Salmon Bay Cafe in Seattle. If I could just add Thea to one of the chairs, then I would have a wonderful picture of a few of mine! ;)

Love you -

July 31, 2008 at 12:25:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Just Me said...


thanks for your garden friends story, it made my day!
I had one garden friend but something happened and she's out of my life now.
I'm making some new friends, I met some yesterday and they were very very nice, perhaps they will become garden friends at the end?

July 31, 2008 at 2:49:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Violet said...

That is a really great concept! Thanks for sharing the story =)

July 31, 2008 at 10:50:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Sarah said...

I Love It.
thank you for posting.

August 3, 2008 at 5:14:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that is an awesome way to think of the seperation between who your real, true friends are...thank you for that perspective at this moment when i am having to do some "garden maintenance". don't you hate weeding!

August 4, 2008 at 4:11:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Thinkie said...

i'm an atheïst but I like the idea/story!

August 5, 2008 at 1:15:00 PM PDT  

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