With the summer sun, summer warmth and summer rain comes explosive growth in our garden.    The first fruits of that growth have appeared in our berry patch.  Raspberries and currants are already plentiful, and the currants have been turned into jellies (Thanks to Cathy J) as a thank you gift for our volunteers next weekend.  Blueberries are just beginning to ripen and are producing just enough for a mid-afternoon snack.  Lettuce and other greens are also ready for picking; can green beans be far behind?

The flower seedlings planted only a few weeks ago have also experienced significant growth in their short time here.  Between the newly-planted annuals and the now-blooming perennials, the flower gardens are an explosion of color and beauty.  Birds, butterflies and bees are enjoying them as much as our residents, staff and guests.

And then there is the growth of the various creatures born this spring: the young fawns, turkeys and foxes are all growing toward maturity before our very eyes.

But just like the garden of life, not all the growth here is limited to pleasures of the eye and palate.  Weeds are thriving in the summer weather as well.  Grass grows so fast that JustBob struggles to keep up between rain showers.  Those same summer showers that water the garden and make it plentiful also turn the idyllic swale in our front yard into a wetland.

In Wisconsin, it seems COVID cases are also growing as fast as the weeds and grass.  And like the weeds and grass, we all have to find the best way to deal with the growth.   It is hard to be grateful for unpleasant things, harmful things, or even just annoying things in life.  Yet these things can also teach us something about who we are, what we can control, and what we need to surrender.  In this very unusual year, we are frequently reminded of the Serenity Prayer:

God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

We may be very familiar with the first stanza, but few are familiar with the second, which may be the lesson to be learned from this most unusual year.  Enjoy every moment; accept hardship as the pathway to peace; take the world as it is and not as I want it to be trusting that God (however we understand God) will make all things right in the end.

For the fruits of all creation, the pleasant and the less-than-pleasant, and the lessons they teach us, Deo Gratis!