Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Healing Power of a Garden

Yesterday, a friend stopped by my garden. She called and ask if she could come and sit awhile. My friend is recovering from a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery and I was so honored that she wanted to spend some healing time in my garden. I fixed her a glass of water and brought her down to the old chair. She propped her feet up on the stool and there she sat, some couple of hours. While she sat and talked, I worked away, clearing leaf litter. Two old gals, both of us survivors, and time ambled pleasantly by us.

My friend, like me, has a good health care insurance plan. She was able to deal with her breast cancer in a timely, effective manner. She had good doctors, an efficient hospital stay, and her employer gave her the time off that she needed for recovery. The cost of her care is plenty, but thanks to her insurance, not unaffordable. My friend will heal and become once again a productive, healthy citizen.

Meanwhile, beyond the solitude there, and the glorious sun and warmth that was filling many hopeful hearts with spring tidings, a certain sickness was infecting our country. Just miles away from my garden, an angry mob on Capitol Hill shouted racial slurs and other insults and obscenities at leaders within the Democratic party over the issue of health care reform. Leaders who are just trying to extend the same type of health care that my friend has to some 40 million uninsured Americans. On my Facebook page, a couple of my high school friends reacted with great umbrage when I posted Paul Krugman's closing arguments in support of reform. One of them left an angry, defensive note somehow conflating reform with a program in her city that extends humanitarian care to our Mexican neighbors at the border. Over the course of the day, this discussion on my wall devolved into near fisticuffs.

I am ever hopeful that reform will pass today and become the law of the land. But I am so saddened, and even frightened, by the vitriol and the lack of civility and the hurtfulness that is playing out between friends and fellow Americans. It seems we are all going to need some healing time. We are all going to need to sit awhile together in the garden. The Putterer

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