The First Gardener
July 31, 2011, 11:21 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I really enjoyed reading The First Gardener by Denise Hildreth Jones. Mackenzie London and her husband, Tennessee Governor Gray London suffer an unspeakable loss in a car accident. Their grief is further compounded six months later when Mackenzie miscarries. I felt much the way the author does, when she writes in the Afterword, “Although I don’t know what it is to have birthed children and lost them, I do know what it is to grieve the children I thought I would give birth to.”

This past week, two local teenagers, best friends, died while detasseling corn. They were electrocuted when they got too close to what appears to be an exposed wire in a crop sprayer. It had rained the night before and the puddles in the field acted as a conduit. This story has been on my mind as I thought about the message in this novel.

We think our lives are going to turn out a certain way. When tragedy happens, when lives are ended before they have begun, at least to our understanding, we tend to rally against God. I know I have. Mackenzie and her husband also rally against God in response to their loss. It is when they surrender themselves to him that they come to realize that His plan is a long-range plan. This can be extermely difficult to understand when grief enters our life. The parents of one of these teenagers were on television. In public, they were able to express gratitude for their daughter’s life. I have no idea what anguish they face behind closed doors.

In church today, the pastor mentioned that he enjoys the story of the five loaves of bread and the two fish that fed a crowd with twelve baskets of leftovers. He said that he likes to share this story with people who are grieving. It is a message of hope. Although Hildreth Jones does not mention this passage in her novel, I had to take note of it today.


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