Lady Luck the Messenger
I'm not especially superstitious. I don't look for signs, portents or omens. I don't stay home on the Ides of March or avoid any Friday that falls on the thirteenth. And I'm not the kind of religious that believes I must darken the church door every time a service is held -- I fell far from my grandparents' examples in that regard. Still, I sometimes feel that there may just be a guiding hand, gently pushing me in the right direction.
I didn't meet Diana just by accident. From the outside looking in, the fact that I saw her post on a social media site and responded to her search for someone to work in her garden a few hours a week may well appear to have been circumstance. It was certainly a lucky thing that I saw her post just at a time when I was wondering what to do with myself and all the time I had during Covid-19 lockdown. I had been furloughed from my job and two of my three children had flown the nest. I needed something to do and Diana needed someone to help out in her garden.
But there was something more. We needed each other.
The first time I met Diana, I just stopped by to see her on my way to another appointment. I thought she seemed nice and she much have felt comfortable with me because we made arrangements for me to start working for her pretty soon after that. The first day of work, I was delighted to find a ladybug nestled on a leaf of lime-green creeping jenny plant. I photographed the pretty insect and sent the picture to Diana, who was inside the house. "Look what I found in your garden!" I texted. It wasn't a sign, to my mind -- but the fact that I already knew that Diana would love to receive that photo was an indication that she and I were kindred spirits.
I can't tell you how many times over the past year that we've commented to each other how we found each other less by chance than by fate, or at the hand of some superior being. Within days of meeting, we became fast friends, and her garden projects became "our" garden masterpieces. Our time together became less about her giving me a list of things to do in her garden, and more about our sitting and talking together.
After we met, we spent hours discussing her garden. Together, we doubled the size of her planting space, discussed what plants to put in, where to put them, and how best to keep the weeds out. Along the way, we learned a lot about each other, too.
I began to rock the boat of our relationship -- both working and personal -- when I accepted a job with a gardening company. If I had time to work at Diana's house, it was either before or after a 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. shift with the company. I was burning the candle at both ends and feeling guilty for not having the energy, time and freedom to commit to the tasks Diana wanted. She was my client, and my friend, and I was letting her down. I knew something had to give.
I wasn't really looking for a sign, but almost every day that my guilt weighed heavily on me, I would find ladybugs. They would crawl on me from a tree, fly over to my arm and land, or be nestled among the weeds I was pulling that day. I started an internal dialogue: "Okay, God. I see. I need to get my priorities straightened out." But I was stubborn. "If I really need to quit this job, send me a couple more ladybugs." Huh. How unyielding can one be?!
I continued to see ladybugs. Every day. Every time I worked with the gardening company.
Now, I've started Garden Therapy. Diana is one of my staunchest supporters and I am so thankful for her. She and I have "adventure days" planned -- although we do have difficulty fitting them in during prime gardening season. But over the winter, we made time to visit all types of interesting places we'd never been.
yesterday, in the mail, I received a pair of earrings I ordered to remind myself of how lucky I am. They have ladybugs on them!