This happened while I was on vacation, so I’m a little late to it, but it’s terrific news, and not too late to vote for her! The Catholic Spirituality Blogs Network has nominated Margaret, along with other great Catholic writers, for a Frankie Award honoring some of the year’s best blog posts.
Margaret is nominated for her brief but well-wrought post, “The Perils of Digging Potatoes”.
I wasn’t one to dig potatoes using a spading fork; I found I did more harm to the tubers by using it. With only a few hills to harvest, and the mounded soil being soft, my hands worked best. There was always something a little exciting about blindly plunging bare hands into warm soil and bumping into potatoes. Wiggling fingers underneath the tubers, I would pop them up and out of the mound.
But the plunging bare hands at times would meet with peril. Pushing fingers into the soil, there is that split second when I’d realize that the pressure pushing back wasn’t a potato, and I couldn’t stop the forward motion quick enough. Then it was too late, I’d just been cut by glass. Wounded, I withdrew, dismayed but not surprised—its one of the risks of gardening in an area that was used for trash. No matter how careful I was at preparing the soil, every once in a while something nasty would work its way up and out of the depths.
A similar thing happened the other day when a sin worked its way out. There was that split second when I knew my soul was about to be wounded by a lie…but it was too late, I couldn’t stop the words. The result was calumnity—I had planted seeds of doubt in the heart of another.
And for what? To feel more important? To appear more knowledgeable? To be liked and feel part of a group? My soul is worth more than that. Worth more than a two minute sound bite, or the bitter unspoken words in my heart, or that drink from the drive-through window that wasn’t really mine and wasn’t really free.
It’s thrilling to see Margaret get a little recognition because she is one of those lovely, low-key beauties of a writer who (perhaps because she is a master gardener, after all) plants a seed in the reader, and then trusts that it will grow without her needing to belabor things. Her stuff is contemplative, low-to-the ground and worth seeking out. Just as Tony Rossi consistently brings light that uplifts the spirit with his posts, Margaret consistently brings the sense of patient hope. Reading her is literally like taking a slow walk through a garden and stopping to appreciate a shoot of new growth, or the way a fallen limb can provide rest and shelter; how a bit of shadow is also a cooling shade.
This reminds me, if you have a gardener on your Christmas list — or someone who could benefit from a gardener’s carefully attentive touch, a 2-book “Margaret Rose Realy” set might be the very thing — one to read for for now or any time, and one particularly good for Lent. I’ve given both to a gardening neighbor, and she’s become a fan, of course.
Life can be brutal. There is something addictive about a voice like Margaret’s — who understands that even a hardy, hand-tilled garden faces mindless destruction and erosion and unforeseen calumny, but may still be reclaimed — is an invaluably reassuring companion for the journey.