“Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves, for they shall never cease to be amused”.
It’s been hot – high 90s F – too hot to work outside. I manage to get outside about 7 pm when the patio is in shadow and it’s cool enough to water the thirsty shade plants. My potted fuchsias are putting on a show. I don’t recall the name of the pink and white cultivar, but the pink and purple one is, appropriately for the subject of this post, “Voodoo”.
Magic is in the air. Possibly the effect of watching too many Harry Potter movies. From the depths of his Lazyman recliner, my Tech Support Guy pointed the TV remote at me last night and shouted, “STUPIFY”. Unable to think of a suitably witty riposte, I clocked him with a pillow from my massage chair. To which, of course, he replied: Ahh, my spell worked, Stupid Old Woman! (That’s his pet name for me). We may be going to hell, but we’ll probably have fun down there.
Which got me to wondering what I might have thought of such behavior back when I was a kid in seminary school. As you may recall from your Baltimore Catechism there are about 8 Beatitudes, more or less. Generally, they are all about the miserable: hungry, clinically depressed, lacking in imagination (aka, poor in spirit) and other kinds of meek little parasites that seem to cling to most family trees.
Yeah, sure there are the merciful, the peace-makers and clean of heart, but generally speaking my Mom once told me, such sanctimonious suck-up behavior gets rewarded well in this life by being appreciated by other self-righteous types. But “clean of heart”? As my Sister M would say (I have four sisters whose names begin with M) “WTF,O?” Which gets me to Q/A 716 of the Baltimore Catechism #3: “Why are the clean of heart promised so great a reward?”
“The clean of heart, that is, the truly virtuous, whose thoughts, desires, words and works are pure and modest, are promised so great a reward because the chaste and sinless have always been the most intimate friends of God.” Which is a positive spin on nuns telling us at age 8 that Jesus won’t be your friend if you’re an immodest little WHORE. Which reminds me of a line from Family Guy when Peter, as a young boy, asks his mother why some great evil occurred. “Because you touch yourself” is Mom’s matter-of-fact reply. Years of therapy ensue….
So, since it's too late for me to take the pure-of-heart route to "friending" Jesus, I’m giving some thought to inventing a few new beatitudes for blessings from the faithful who cultivate gardens. Beatitudes are supposed to be the “highest Christian virtues” that we should practice in order to obtain “sanctifying grace in this life and eternal glory in the next” (Q/A#711). It’s time we updated them for gardeners.
Blessed are those who cultivate gardens, for they shall return to Eden as it was before the fall.
Blessed are those who compost, for they shall not suffer in the heat our overheating globe.
Blessed are those who teach their children to sustain the earth, for they shall enjoy some kick-ass reunion picnics together.
And finally, one for me: blessed are the irreverent whose garden designs veer dangerously toward kitsch, for the harvest of their imagination shall be richer than any earthly paradise.