I dunno. I just have this urge to write. About what? Nothing in particular, I guess...

I've wanted to make something gourmet the last few days, but... eh. The effort just doesn't seem worth the end product. I'd rather dream of buying books.

I've had (and succumbed to) this urge to look up books that have really impacted me. I found them (and more!) on Amazon, and created a wish list : Some I have never read before, but I read the reviews and they look like they're right up my alley. I realized, in my compilation of this list, that the books I have liked the most throughout the years are ones with themes of redemption, growth, and healing. Not your sitcom style resolution-in-30-minutes, but a change in the core of the person. Granted, in some of the books, God is not a factor. But I know where healing and growth comes from, even if the author doesn't recognize it.

So I guess I'll go accomplish something now. Like organizing my documents... or creating my packing list...

I'm feeling a little angsty about my upcoming visit home. Will they see a difference in me? I hope so. I'm way different than I was before, and I'm not just talking about my hairstyle. So much about who I am intrinsically has changed. Less lies, more truth. And truth that is not lived is worse than pointless. I hope I am living it. I hope that I will be more loving and lovable. I hope that I will be able to help them heal, even if it's just a little bit.

Another thing: I want to help people so bad... but I'm so scared of it. What if I mess them up further? I mean, I get so tongue-tied when people have problems! What do I say? What do I do? How can I help? So I sit there, like a bump on a log, and just listen... offer what words I can... But here I go, off to school to learn how to help people, and I'm so intimidated by the thought that...

But I could never be happy knowing that I walked away from this calling. I mean... helping people who have been hurt like I have is what I wanna do for a long, long time, if not the rest of my life. The problem is... I'm just not so sure I can. I still feel so broken myself. And how do I explain the beautiful hope that is growing in my heart to someone who has never experienced it?

Once, when I was an infant, there was a small garden. It was full of tender little seedlings that showed great promise. They would grow up into delicately scented flowers and lush ornamental grasses and even berry-bearing bushes. But then came the storms. One by one, they came. The little garden could have withstood one or two, probably quite a few if there had been someone to help protect the fragile little plants. But there was no one who would or could consistently shelter the growing vegetation. On and on the storms raged, through the years. At times, there would be a sweet stillness to the air, and the sun would shine, and the battered little seedlings would stretch out their leaves and try to grow. The storms, however, had stunted and twisted the little plants until it seemed impossible that they could grow at all. Some of the grasses and flowers and bushes had withered and died beneath the continual onslaught, and their corpses littered the ground, making it difficult for the other plants to multiply as they needed to. Somehow, in the midst of the fierce weather, weeds had managed to grow profusely (as weeds often do), and they, too, choked the little plants, and stole their water, and soaked up the sunlight meant for the seedlings.

The years stretched on. The little garden grew more and more ragged. If a passerby had glanced over the fence, they would have thought it contained nothing but weeds, but a few saw the little plants hidden among the sharp grasses. They came into the garden and watered the little plants, trying to clear spaces among the weeds. Their efforts kept the little plants alive, but still they could not flourish. Storms continued to buffet the small patch of vegetation. By some miracle, the plants grew a little.

Then, new variations of the noxious weeds began to multiply and spread their poisons even more profusely throughout the little enclosure. It seemed that their was no choice but for the plants to give up hope and wither away, as many of them had already done.

But the gardener, who had faithfully attended this little patch through all the years, came in and whispered to the little plants. Weary and broken, they sighed their assent, and the gardener got to work. He brought in people who, though not professional gardeners, had a love for tender, broken little plants.  These he set to work nourishing and bandaging, while he pulled out the noxious weeds. Slowly, ever so slowly, the ragged, blackened patch of ground began to clear. Some of the weeds had been there for decades, and had quite the root system entrenched. Some weeds were simple byproducts of the larger, more firmly rooted weeds, and they came out quickly and quietly.

As the gardener did his work, the plants found that, for the first time in years (or maybe ever), they were able to stretch out their leaves in comfort. The nourishment and tender care given by the friends of the gardener did its work, and the flowers, the grasses, and the berry bushes climbed towards the crystal sky, centimeter by centimeter. Their tender rootlets drove deeper and deeper into the soil, now rich with nutrients. (The gardener had taken the uprooted weeds and turned them into a nourishing compost.)

As of today, there are still weeds in the garden. They are fewer, though, and they pale in comparison to the once-stunted little plants that now whisper and sigh their contentment in shades of green and silver. In the corner over there, a dainty flower joyously flings its petals wide to the sunlight (a sight rarely seen before in this garden). And the storms? Yes, they still pass through, magnificent in their fury. Now, however, the friends of the gardener stand watch over the plants, ready to take hold of tender stalks and stems when they are in danger of breaking. As for the gardener himself, it turns out that he has always been around to help protect this little garden from the storms. If it weren't for him, this little plot would have been wiped out long ago. And it must be global warming or something, because it would almost seem to me that the vicious storms sweeping through this area now make this little garden stronger. I know, I know... it's crazy.

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