Invasion of the Gnomes
Since my Nanny’s passing, my mom and dad have spent much of the last several months working on sorting through the items she left behind. It has been a grueling task, physically and emotionally. As they were going through volumes of items, they decided to ask the grandchildren if there were things that we or our children would like to have. Eventually one of the things making the round of the “Does Anybody Want These?” lists was garden tchotchkes.
My parents who are actually quite adept at technology and decorating sent us a picture with my dad’s legs standing among the items available balancing a yardstick to give perspective. I immediately requested the tall gnome with the measuring stick even though I couldn’t see anything more than his bottom half. I figured he might come in handy around here. My mother replied he was already taken. Since my first request was unavailable, I took a closer look at what new treasures lay waiting. I love a good garden gnome; so, I speedily replied as to which couple I would love to see in my garden. My brother chimed in on a few he would like. My sister’s response was a flat out, “NO THANKS!”
My first exposure to gnomes was when my family made a cross-country move to North Dakota. I remember being smitten with them, because my brother and I were huge Smurfs fans. Years later, I created tiny fantasy gardens with itsy-bitsy gnomes. My children grew up watching very carefully, because sometimes it would seem the gnomes had moved or new items appeared with them. We still talk about the bowling ball and pins that appeared one morning in one of those gardens. Such is the whimsy of my backyard!
Almost a month after the text messages, my parents arrived with a U-Haul full of treasures from my Nanny’s house. Among them was our new garden kitsch. At first, we placed them on our deck carefully, cautioning the kids that we would think about exactly the right place for them later.
Since they were my grandmother’s, I wanted to preserve them, put them on a shelf, and make sure they lasted forever. I didn’t want anyone or thing to touch them. Then one night, I got a nudge deep in my heart. I knew Nanny would ask, “What in heaven’s name are you thinking?”. She would never want me to box them up for display only, much like many of us do with our best china. They are meant to be in the garden bringing smiles and maybe just a touch of mischief to anyone lucky enough to spot one.
My nerves steeled. I resolved to place them in Reed’s garden, by asking my little girl to have the honors. I think both Reed and Nanny would have been proud of that choice. A job of this importance required a child-like heart, not a heart, like mine, too timid to even use them. I told her there was only one rule. That rule: Mom can’t change where you put them. Imagine the gift she received that day!
That night in bed, I realized that I do that a lot. I receive blessings from God, but I am, on occasion, too timid to use them. I want to put them on the shelf and look at them. I want to be reminded that, indeed, God has blessed me. Sometimes, I don’t want to share them in fear that the blessings will tarnish or diminish in beauty. But much like my Nanny’s garden decorations, I am beginning to realize that perhaps the reason for the blessings is for us to pour them out to others. Memories of the times that God was so good to us! Perhaps that was God’s plan all along for our new little buddies waving from the greenery in the back of the lot.
So today I choose to not hold on too tightly to my blessings, counting them one by one, but instead allowing God to use them through me.