“Two things cannot be in one place. Where you plant a rose, my lad, a thistle cannot grow.” —Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
I have had a love affair with all things related to The Secret Garden since I was 7, and it started with my grandmother purchasing the 1987 BBC made for tv VHS starring Gennie James, with a young Colin Firth cameo. I was obsessed! I actually believe my Anglophile preferences started then. I remember borrowing a children’s abridged and illustrated edition of the book from my third grade teacher’s classroom library...and keeping it! For a subject so dear to my heart, it really used to bother me that I’d actually never read the full length children’s classic, despite collecting just about every edition I could get my hands on. This year seemed like the year to rectify that, and at a time when the only edition I had access to was this lovely Vintage Classics Kindle edition. I sometimes wonder if having too many reading options is what handicapped me.
I have to say that the book was even lovelier than I could imagine; it’s hard to believe that children are the target audience because it spoke right to my soul. At a time when my family has experienced a series of setbacks and life changes (most recently the passing of my beloved Boston Terrier, Henry), I really understood how children like Mary and Collin could be so sour inside. Life has a way of making you that way if you’re not careful. The transformative and restorative power of the garden and its “magic” helped remind me that the antidote to intrusive, negative thoughts are positive, upbuilding ones, and there is no better way to do that than to throw yourself into helping others, spending time considering Jehovah’s beautiful creation, and focusing on the hope we have ahead of us. Now is the time to be busy about our “gardening.” If you haven’t read this book yet, I highly recommend it! If you already have, make it a point to revisit it every now and again.
“Much more surprising things can happen to anyone who, when a disagreeable or discouraged thought comes into his mind, just has the sense to remember in time and push it out by putting in an agreeable, determinedly courageous one.”