46. Accidental Blessings

46. Accidental Blessings

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Happily Ever After

Accidental Blessings

We plant seeds that will flower as results in our lives,
so best to remove the weeds of anger, avarice, envy and doubt...

~Dorothy Day

I was in the hospital mending from a bad car accident when I met Joe. We hit it off right away. It was a cold March in Georgia, but my heart was warmed by this handsome, loving man. He was recovering from the loss of his left hand in an accident a month earlier.

A couple of weeks after we met, I became anxious about being away from home. I had ordered all sorts of fruit trees, shrubs and flowers from various catalogs. They’d be arriving in the mail any day, and I knew they wouldn’t be safe just sitting outside. I had to get them planted!

“I’ve got to get out of this hospital and back home to put in my garden,” I told Joe. “I’ve got so much to do!”

“I’ll help,” he offered immediately. Neither of us stopped to think that Joe no longer had his left hand.

Two weeks later, I was discharged from the hospital. Sure enough, I was greeted by box after box of plants. Joe called that evening to say hello. I told him what had been waiting for me.

The next morning, Joe called again. He had spoken with his doctor and been granted a day pass away from the hospital.

“If you still want help with the garden, I’ll be glad to come over,” Joe said.

“I’d love some help,” I answered with relief. “It’ll be a big job!”

Saturday morning I was in the yard getting organized when Joe arrived with a big smile on his face. I showed him where the shovel was, and I grabbed an armful of fruit trees.

When I got to the section of property where the trees were to be planted, my eager helper was all ready to get to work. All of a sudden, I stopped and focused on Joe’s left arm. It was at that moment that it struck me what a challenge this was going to be for Joe.

“Don’t worry,” said Joe, as if reading my mind. “I had my therapist bandage my arm extra well so I won’t get dirt on it. Now, where do you want these trees planted?”

After I showed him the layout, Joe wrapped his left arm around the shovel handle, grabbed the handle end with his right hand and started digging.

By sunset, Joe and I were planting the last shrub. Both of us were exhausted and hungry. We cleaned up and headed out to a nice restaurant.

Over dinner, we talked and laughed and had a wonderful time. Then Joe got really quiet. “I didn’t think I could do it,” he said softly.

I looked at him, puzzled.

Joe raised his left arm. “I didn’t think I could do it,” he said, as a beautiful smile spread across his face. “The end of my arm is really throbbing now, but I feel great! In fact, I’ve never felt better in my life!”

There is truth in the saying that “gardening is the best medicine.” After that day, Joe often came to work in the garden with me. The exercise strengthened his arm, and he was out of the hospital much sooner than the doctors expected. Not only that, Joe fell in love with gardening. He was hooked for life. And best of all, we fell in love with each other. We were married six months later.

Today, Joe’s even more passionate about gardening than I am. Sometimes I catch him pulling weeds in public flower beds! Our marriage, too, grows stronger every day.

I often think about how much we might have missed if we hadn’t both been in the hospital and I hadn’t been so eager to get my plants in the ground. Joe and I met by accident — or by accidents. But life’s funny, isn’t it? Those accidents brought us the best blessings of our lives.


~Joanne Bryan
Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul

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