On those days when life gets to be a little too much to face, many gardeners will often tell you they escape to their planting refuge to better cope with things that sometimes seem inexplicable, even cruel.

In short, gardening can prove beneficial for our mental health, something that has been seriously challenged during the difficult events of the pandemic, extreme political polarizations, and amid growing concerns of global warming.

This week, it was the senseless shooting of 19 children and 2 adults in Uvalde, Texas, that drove that point home in the most horrific ways possible.

So, I did what I always do when I’m trying to make sense of the senseless, shake off one more bad news day, and try to find answers as to what steps I need to take next to help be part of the solution to all that ails us. Because we all own a piece of the healing.

I went to my garden.

It’s still in the early stages of summertime prep. Newly purchased flowers still wait for their permanent place in the sun.

They are still waiting because May temperatures have been unusually cool in the Midwest, and because, truth be told, I just haven’t had the heart to plant them. Like yours, my heart is especially heavy with what happened this week. That has meant less activity for me.

But today, I ventured back into the healing of my garden after I purchased a few more plants from a local garden center, a healing excursion in itself. I put them next to those beauties already waiting to be placed lovingly into rich soil that will help them grow and flourish.

Not unlike the roles of loving parents and educators.

That’s all I had energy to do today. That is this week’s 15-Minute Friday.

Tomorrow, my plan is to resume planting all this healing sweetness in earnest.

As once again, I seek refuge among the beauty of nature. Beauty that never ceases, never fails, even when humans create unspeakable chaos. Nature continues doing what nature does. Beautifully. With its serene, predictable, comforting rhythm.

Not for greed, attention, power and ego. But for all things good.

My garden has never failed me.

This time, among the buzzing bees, the sweet aviary choir, the fleeting hummingbirds, there will be tears and sacred garden prayers.

For the world, for myself, and most especially for the children and families of Robb Elementary School of Uvalde, Texas.

Where innocence was forever stolen for no good reason, with no solution yet in sight.

My garden will help heal my aching soul and breaking human heart, if only briefly.

Digging in the dirt to plant life will one day bear fruit. It’s action I will take to honor families as they bury loved ones in the ground far too soon.

At moments like this, the garden is often the supportive friend I need most. Dependable. Steady. My gratitude is ongoing.

How does your garden help you cope in these especially challenging times?