I Come to the Garden

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This weekend we laid my dad to rest in our hometown of Pensacola, Florida. It could not have been a more beautiful service. Our minister from our childhood performed the ceremony, and the words he said will stay with me for the rest of my life. I was so touched to see the people who took time out of their days to stand next to my family during a very difficult time. I think their presence moved me more than anything else.

It wasn’t as hard as I worried it would be. I had said goodbye to my dad a while ago, and have spent the past six months making peace with his passing through prayer. I think I was ready to lay him to rest. It was sad to leave him, though. I know that he wasn’t there anymore. The spiritual and rational sides of my brain tell me that. He has gone on, but it was still hard to leave him there by himself.

There was a soloist who sang my dad’s favorite hymn, “I Come to the Garden.” I can’t hear that song without thinking about my dad singing it in church. Actually, I can’t hear many hymns without thinking about my dad singing any of them in church. It was one of the reasons I had such a hard time going back to church after he passed. My dad had this big, loud, robust voice that might have been in tune, had he remembered the words to anything he sang. My dad didn’t talk much in front of people about his faith, so I think that’s why it was always sort of startling to hear his booming voice radiate out over a sanctuary. Completely uninhibited. I will miss that, but if I close my eyes, I can still hear him singing.

I come to the garden alone

While the dew is still on the roses

And the joy I hear, falling on my ears

The son of God discloses…

And he walks with me and he talks with me

And he tells me I am his own

And the joy we share as we tarry there

None other has ever know.

During the service, our minister talked about that garden.  He talked, of course, about the first garden with Adam and Eve.  But he talked more about gardens in our lives.  Places we go to feel connected to God, or to whatever it is we seek.  And the whole time he spoke, I kept picturing me sitting with God and talking in a garden, and my dad sitting on the bench with us.

My dad has passed on, and while I miss him every single day, there is a sweet kind of peace in knowing that he is sitting in that garden that he loved to sing about.

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13 Thoughts to “I Come to the Garden”

  1. One of my very favorite hymns. I can’t sing it without crying–even when I’m not at a funeral. Love to you and your family Katie.

  2. jenny-bird

    Much love to you and your family Katie.

  3. while I was reading the hymn I started singing it in my head, and then I started crying. It’s so very true… isn’t it? I love that about hymns… how deep and profound they are about our relationship with God. He’s dancing on streets of gold right now… and walking in gardens with the One who created him. I love the hope that comes with a relationship with God.

  4. Jessica W.

    I associate that hymn with my late grandmother as well. It was her favorite. We were very close as I was her only grandchild. Much love and prayer going to you and your family.

  5. Peggy

    This was one of my Dad’s favorite hymns as well. Thank you for brining a smile to my face this morning as I remember my Dad. Blessings to you and your family!

  6. What a beautiful post. It brought me to tears. I love that song… it’s so relaxing and peaceful to listen word by word. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Trish D

    This was also one of my Dad’s favorite hymns. We had it sang at his funeral. Dad has been gone almost 20 years and there are still days that I’m tearful…but, I know that he will be there to greet the rest of us when we arrive. That brings me great comfort. Take care of yourself and your family and keep your dad’s memory alive with your children. Tell them all of the funny stories and memories you have with your dad. Hugs you tightly.

  8. Morgan

    My grandmother, named Andy, used to tell us that God’s name is Andy. When we would ask why, she said, “Andy walks with me, Andy talks with me, Andy tells me I am his own…”

    Beautiful, beautiful hymn.

  9. jamie

    God Bless You All Sweetest Girl…I continue to surround you all with Light and Love. My favorite song, as well…

  10. Katie, this post gave me chills. Literally. Again, I am so sorry for your loss and your dad sounds like he was an amazing man who will be truly missed! Still thinking about you and your family!

  11. My Gram was like a mother to me. When she does back in October 2001, someone sang that same hymn because Gram loved to garden and loved her Lord. I have two versions of it on my iPod (one by Alan Jackson and one by Brad Paisley), and sometimes when they pop up on shuffle I smile and sometimes I cry, but I always feel her near me.

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