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Gammas are all about making connections. Community connections. Business connections. Friend connections. Faith connections. But what about connecting with ourselves? I promise I have a good reason for asking this. 

This year is an important one for me. I’m turning forty. I know, I know, some will say, “Sis, you’re still a baby!” Some will say, “Wow, that’s the beginning of middle age.” And still others will say, “Ha, that’s nothing. Wait until you hit (insert age here).” In my mind, forty is one of those milestone ages; you don’t get there without trial and tribulation. 

Here’s the thing – modern society tells women not to age. It tells us to dye our hair. It tells us to dress and act our age. (Which has always struck me as extremely odd; I’ve never been this age before, so how would I know what to do?!) We are told for us to be relevant, useful, beautiful, needed, interesting, exciting, we must be young. Or at least have the appearance of youth. This isn’t a healthy message to receive, nor is it one we want to transmit to other women. It’s a good idea to reflect on how we feel about ourselves – and what rhymes with reflect? Connect!

Returning to the garden metaphor from last month, each of us will reach a point with our gardens that requires us to take a step back and honestly survey our work. Our gardens have changed so much over time. They’ve nurtured tender young stalks. They’ve bloomed in the fullness of spring. They’ve been sick and healed from sickness. They’ve waxed and waned, but they are still here. We are still here. We can’t lose the connection we have to the roots residing deep within the soil. 

Long life is a gift many are denied. While it isn’t my place to pontificate on the reason why, it is one hundred percent my place to look each one of you in the eyes and ask: do you feel a connection to yourself? Do you love your garden in all its seasons for the simple fact that it is yours? Every bit of you lives in that garden. Why would we choose to revere one season and not every season? In everything you do, make sure you are doing it because it’s what you believe is best, not what society tells you is best. 

I once read the only difference between a garden and a graveyard is what you choose to plant in it. Loving and careful planting has nothing to do with age, but everything to do with understanding our worth as human beings. All our gardens are worthy of celebration, and I think I’m going to spend all of 2024 connecting to and celebrating mine.    


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